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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at "Washington. 



(a ■ 


This volume is tbe reproduction of its predecessor, which appeared 
in 1860. This short interval, although checkered by war, is illuminated 
by stupendous achievements in the direction whither the energies of the 
people were invited. 

The vivacity with which labor, intelligence, and moderation, in concert 
and alliance, march and expand in force and volume, is amazing and 
glorious. Nothing in sight predicts any serious check to this tidal flood, 
on which is borne every department and detail of Progress. 

The aim here is to grasp facts as they are ; to reject delusions which 
have grown senile. No special chapter is here assigned to the Western 
Cordillera (the Sierra Nevada), because its general profile, its thermal 
features, and its continuity ate everywhere referred to and described. 

Much that has been proposed and asked from the people in the former 
volume is now fully completed and has gone into history. Everything 
else is coming with assured certainty and celerity. 

In the former preface I have given expression fully to my faith and 
hopes. These I retain and repeat with fortified confidence and con- 
viction. ^ 

Denver, Juno 1 1873. 














Everybody is acquainted with the history of the American people. 
Their commonwealth, commenced at first by a few republican familiea 
voluntarily exiled from the Old World, is now, at the end of two and a 
half centuries, a republican empire of established continental dimensions 
and policy. 

Restricted heretofore in its development to so much of our continent 
as belongs to the Atlantic, a point of progress is reached, whence our 
energies, overflowing towards the west, expand to embrace the regions 
of the Pacific Ocean and establish direct and familiar relations with 

This movement, long in preparation, now engages so large a force that 
its advance daily acquires volume and celerity. Federal legislation^ to 
progress pari passu with the people, is demanded upon a basis to give 
effect to the great central movement resulting from their energies. A 
liberal understanding of the mission of our people, counsels a genial 
expansion of the federal system to the grandest dimensions which their 
energies may reach. 

I have condensed into a small volume, the memoranda and reflections 
suggested by a residence of twenty years in the wilderness : and in the 
midst of the pioneer people who occupy the foreground of progress, and 
clear open the track of empire. 

I distinguish, as the most essential present ground of development, the 
interval which separates the Mississippi Basin from the Pacific Ocean. 
This defines itself as the '■^Mountain Systeni" of our geography. 

The magnitude of the obstacles which it opposes to the forces of pro- 
gress assembled on its two fronts, sanctions an appeal to every form of 



help discernible to the patriotic heart. This needed help is, in short, the 
construction of the Continental Railroad. 

Two auspicious elements in human civilization, by their rapid growth 
in power and importance, fix our attention, — the indefinite multiplication 
of gold coin, and international public works. 

These two elements, so operating as to mutually stimulate and sustain 
each other, promise to enthrone industrial organization as the ruling 
principle of nations. 

America leads the host of nations as they ascend to this new order of 

Her intermediate geographical position between Asia and Europe and 
their populations, invests her with the powers and duties of arbiter 
between them. Our continent is at once a barrier which separates the 
other two, yet fuses and harmonizes their intercourse in all the relations 
from which force is absent. 

Human society is, then, upon the brink of a new order of arrangement, 
inspired by the universal instincts of peace, and is about to assume the 
grandest dimensions. 

Fascinated by this vision, which I have seen appear and assume the 
solid form of a reality in less than half a generation, I discern in it 
a new power, the People occupied in the wilderness, engaged at once in 
extracting from its recesses the omnipotent element of gold coin, and 
disbursing it immediately for the industrial conquest of the world. 

William Gtilpin. 

Independence, April 7, 1860. 





Breadth — Length — Black Hills — Cordillera of the Sierra Madre — Gold-producing 
Granite — Pares — Plateau of Table Lands — Not comprehen<led by the American 
People — Basin of City of Mexico — Bolson di Mapimi — No Drainage — Sierra 
Mimbres — Basin of the Del Norte — Basin of the Colorado — Canon of the Colo- 
rado — Basin of the Salt Lake — Basin of the Columbia — Basin of Frazer's River 
— Delicious Climate of the Plateau — Its Fertility — Cordillera of the Andes — 
Pacific Maritime Front 15 



Mountain System of the Globe — The Andes — Their length, altitude, and auriferous 
wealth — Chain of the Mother Mountain — Its Rivers — Canons — Mesas — Butes — 
Llanos — Bayous or Pares — Elevation — Breadth — Wind River Mountain — South 
Pass — The Alps and their pass — Lava Plain of Snake River — Bowl of the Yel- 
lowstone — Plain of the South Pass — Sweetwater Rivei- — Table Mountain — Pla- 
cers of gold and precious stones — Northern Pare or Bull-pen — Favorite winter 
home of trappers — Streams, meadows, flowers, groves, etc. — Middle Pare — 
Mountain spurs, rocky streams, cloudy atmosphere, snow-clad summits — Long's 
Peak — Southern Pare — Pike's Peak — Mountain barrier — No transit — Bayou 
San Luis — Sublime scenery, luxuriant fertility, agricultural seasons — Valley 
of Kashmere — Secondary mesas, or " Llanott" — Level surface, poor soil, rainless 
atmosphere — Perplexity of public mind — Llano Estacado and LlaDO of the Bal- 
sifoeta — A continual terrace — Kansas Basin 24 



Its area and characteristics — The column of central progress — Plateaux of the Old 
World — Plateau of American Table Lands not understood — Its basins — Climate 
uniformly vernal — Fertility of soil — Grasses make natural hay — Immense 
herds of cattle — Auriferous granite and gold placers — Irrigation — Prepared 
for an immediate dense population — Its physical characteristics — Geological 

formation — Mineralogical resources — Zone of civilization — Line of progress 34 






The gold and silver production of the world — Auriferous or gold-bearing forma- 
tion — Calcareous formation — Iron, copper, lead — Focal culminations of the 
Sierra Madre — Pike's Peak — The Sierra Mimbres — Mining in the Andes — 
Stupendous effects of the internal volcanic powers of the globe — Abundance of 
the precious metals — Canon of the Colorado — Gorgeous variety of scenery — 
Philosophy of metalliferous deposits — " Great North American Desert" does 
not exist — Humboldt's views — The Great Plateau the seat of empire of the 
ancient Mexicans — Eemarkable focal culmination of the Sierra Mimbres in the 
Sierra San Juan — The column of pioneers upon its threshold 44 



Route from Paris to Pekin — Distance and time reduced — The Plateau and two Cor- 
dilleras the only impediments — Basin of the Mediterranean and Basin of the 
Mississippi — The former salt water — The latter rich, calcareous, and arable 
soil — The former supported a population of one hundred and thirty-one millions — 
The latter capable of twelve hundred millions — Both the seats of empire in their 
respective continents — Both traversed by the zodiac of civilization — The South 
Pass — Its shape, size, and surface — Distance from Astoria and St. Louis — The 
only pass through the Mountain Formation hence to Tehuantepec — The great 
trail of the buffalo passes through it — Uninterrupted passage by the bed of great 
rivers both to the Atlantic and Pacific — Uniformity of climate from sea to sea 
— The great Continental line of empire here — The Pillars of Washington 54 



Its great river — Its surface a rich and deep sediment — Its climate — Line of timber 
— Line of grasses — Capacity for population — Geographical centre of the Basin 
and North American Continent at same point — Between and equidistant 
from the 259,000,000 population of Europe and the 650,000,000 pojiulation of 
Asia and Polynesia — Surface of Europe descends outwards from its centre — 
Also of Asia — Surface of North America like a bowl, gathering and central- 
izing whatever enters within its rim — The Basin of the Mississippi the amphi- 
theatre of the world 6-1 



Great Plains of America not deserts — The Pastoral Garden of the world — Its 
surface a gentle slope to the east — Abounds in rivers — Covered with thick 



nutritious grasses and swarming with animal life— ^Soil not sandy, but a fine 
calcareous mould — Convenient to navigation — Climate dry, and temperature 
even — Herbage perennial, edible, and nutritious throughout the year, and cured 
into natural hay upon the ground — Supports one hundred millions of wild cattle 
— No fires as in prairies — Turkeys, chickens, water-fowl, fish, and game in great 
variety, abundant — Ample proportion of arable land for farms, fuel, building 
materials, etc. — Climate favorable to health and longevity — Animal food three- ^_ 
fifths of that of the human family — How produced spontaneously — Very little 
labor necessary for support — Pastoral agriculture on a large scale compara- 
tively a new order of industry to our people — Destined to be of immense im- 
portance 71 



The Definition of Pare — Their Beauty and Grandeur — The Pares of Colorado — 
San Luis Pare — Ease of Entrance and Departure — Mountains — Rivers — Extent 
— Climate — Valley of the City of Mexico — Pasturage of San Luis Pare — Alpine 
Vegetation — The Precious Metals — Normal Structure of the Cordillera — Of the 
Sierra Mimbres — Craters of Extinct Volcanoes — Pedrigals — Cerritos — Walls of 
Lava — Productions of the Pares — Medicinal Waters — Hot Springs — Irrigation 
— Accessibility — Health — Mexican Population 77 



Magnitude of the New Powers and Fresh Forces — Thermal Science — Belt of Pro- 
duction — Aqueous Atmosphere — Aerial Atmosphere — Ethereal Atmosphere — 
Maritime Climate — Continental Climate — Region of the Piedmont — Influence 
of Vapors — Unfavorable Influence of Thermal Laws in Europe — The Gold 
Fever — The Land Question — Government Credits — The Financial Problem — 
Mistaken Legislation — Pastoral Agriculture — Industrial Organization — The Cos- 
mopolitan Railway 91 


New Forces in America — Influenced by Geographical Configuration — Force of the 
Pioneer Army — Machine Force of Great Britain — Sources of British Power — Its 
Weakness and Artificial Nature — Want of Elasticity — The Charitable and Civ- 
ilizing Democratic Forces of America — Policy of Peace — Policy of Inductive 
Reason and Physical Science — Asia and Europe compared — Equilibrium — Un- 
limited Expansion — Perpetual Peace 99 





The Pioneer Army — The Continental Mission — The Southern Andes — The North- 
ern Andes — Eastern and Western Cordilleras — Profile of the Andes — Sim- 
plicity of Structure — Longitudinal Position — The Calcareous Plain — Plateau — 
System of the Pares — Enumeration — San Luis Pare — Alps of Europe — Convex 
Surface of Europe — Concave Surface of North America — Climate of Colorado — 
Isothermal Belt — Climate and Civilization 105 



The Oriental Slope of Asia — China — Its Imperfect Isothermal Zone — The Isother- 
(X mal Zone of North America — Longitudinal Mountains — Populations of Asia 
and Europe — America Intermediate — "Way-Travel of the Human Race — Geo- 
graphical Progress — Social Progress — Gold Discoveries — City of Denver — Miirch 
of the Pioneers — Overland Conquests — System of Natural Forces — Pastoral 
Agriculture 113 



Geological Formation of the American Andes — Atmospheres — Maritime Climate — 
Continental Climate — Richness of Atmospheric Color — Vernal Temperature — 
Denver Cosmopolitan — Transportation by Railways — Tidal March of Popula- 
tion — London and the Oriental Commerce — Prospective Oriental Commerce of 
North America — Transacted and Uutransacted Mission of the North American 
V People — Conclusion 123 




Remarks of Major William Gilpin, at the Barbecue given the Cole Infantry, at 
Jefferson City, Thursday, August 10, 1847 131 




First spoken at the Camp of Five Thousand California Emigrants at Wakeriisa 
(now the City of Lawrence), Kansas. Repeated at Independence, Missouri, at a 
Mass Meeting of the Citizens of Jackson County, held November 5, 1849 141 





At Independence, on the 6th of November, 1849, to respond to the Action of 
the Great National Railroad Convention, held in St. Louis on the loth day 
of October, 1849 171 



Extracts from an Address by Colonel William (JNilpin, delivered at Kansas City, 
November 16, 1858 ; on the Gold Production of America and the Sierra San 
Juan 174 



Reproduced from the Pamphlet of 185^ 184 



Reproduced from the Pamphlet of 1856 208 



Spoken by Honorable AVilliam Gilpin, to the Guests of the Fenian Brotherhood, 
at Denver, Colorado, July 4, 1868 215 




Delineating the " Mountain System" and its details, The " Great Calcareous Plain" 
as a unit, and the continuous encircling " Maritime Selvage." 



In which are delineated the " Mountain System" as a unit, The " Great Calcareous 
Plain" and its details, and the continuous encircling " Maritime Selvage." 



Delineating the Isothermal Zodiac, the Isothermal Axis of Intensity, and its ex- 
pansions up and down the '•' Plateau." 



And the domestic relations of the " Great Plains," the " North American Andes," 
and the Pacific " Maritime Front." 


Delineating the Contrasted Longitudinal and Latitudinal Porms of the Continents, 
the Isothermal Zodiac and Axis of Intensity, round the World, and the Line of the 
Cosmopolitan Eailway and its Longitudinal Feeders. 









I HAVE elsewhere given a sketch of one of the cardinal subdivisions 
of our continent and country, the Great Plains. I now proceed to 
sketch what is beyond them, and fills the space out to the Pacific Sea. 
This is the immense Mountain Formation of North America. 

I approach the attempt to classify and set down this region with a 
degree of trepidation which I find it difiicult to master. During the 
years of war and exploration which I have passed among them, every 
hour has kept alive the awe inspired by the immensity of the space they 
occupy, the grandeur of their bulk and altitude, and the sublime order 
and symmetry which pervade them as a system, and in the details. 
Moreover, no one, not even Humboldt, has ever attempted to reduce 
them to a classic system, or assented to what I have done in the hydro- 
graphic map of 1845. These indelibly-graved impressions perpetually 
recur whenever my memory reverts to that time, and warn me to speak 
of countries so novel to a public little curious and uninformed, only after 
condensing their portrait with the maturest meditation and with nicely- 
guarded caution. 

The mountain formation of North America is that distinct subdivision 
of its area which occupies the whole space from the Great Plains to the 
Pacific Sea, and covers two-sevenths of the continent. In its superficial 



contents, bulk, number and variety of the mountain masses, it equals slie 
aggregated mountains of all the other continents. It has peculiar char- 
acteristics, which render it more interesting than them all. Travelling 
transversely across from east to west along the thirty-ninth degree, the 
breadth is 1600 miles; the length, continuous from Tehuantepec to the 
Arctic Sea, is 4500 miles ; the direction is regular from south-south-east 
to north-north-west. From east to west the traveller enters and crosses 
five physical divisions, as distinct in order and succession as are the pris- 
matic streaks of the rainbow to the eye. These are : 1st. The Black 
Hills, or Eastern Piedmont; 2d. The Cordillera of the Sierra Madre 
(Rocky Mountain) ; 3d. The Plateau of the Table Lands, with its moun- 
tain chains ; 4th. The Cordillera of the Snowy Andes (the Sierra 
Nevada) ; 5th. The Maritime Piedmont of the Pacific Shore. These 
divisions are parallel tp one another like the streaks of the rainbow, and, 
like them, run throughout from end to end of the mountain formation^ in 
which they are blended together in one embodied mass. 

Beyond the longitudinal centre of the Great Plains, the undulations of the 
surface begin to swell up, until they become elevated into secondary moun- 
tains, with timber, and crowned with rocky escarpments. These are the 
Black Hills. They are the outliers of the Sierra Madre, are in the 
Basin of the Mississippi, and, masking the mountain crest, break and 
graduate its descent. They are 300 miles in breadth, are perforated by all 
the great rivers, and are washed away and tortured into fragments by 
their channels. They have rocks of porphyritic granite and sandstone, 
but are for the most part formed of the sulphat eof lime, as gypsum or 
plaster of Paris. 

Some of them are paved with petrifactions, and others, being composed 
of light mould, form the suspended matter of the rivers, which goes 
down to make the alluvial bottoms and delta of the Mississippi Basin. 
They have but little snow or rain, a scattered growth of dwarfed timber, 
and a picturesque and fantastic scenery. They are an importnat part 
of the pastoral region, are clothed in perennial grasses, and abound in 
aboriginal cattle. Perpetual sunshine, fertility, perfect health, pure and 
abundant water, ever- varying scenery, and infinite animal life, will, in time, 
attract and fix here the densest population. 

Over the Black Hills rises the Cordillera op the Sierra Madre. 
This supreme Cordillera may be defined as the backbone of the world ; 
it is the " divortia aquarum" of the American continent. From the 
snows of its immense crest and flanks descend the rivers that irrigate 
either face of the continent out to all the oceans. From it also branch 
off" all the other mountain chains. Where the irrigation from the snows 


is sufficient, immense forests exist ; elsewhere the mountains are naked. 
The core or basis of the Sierra Madre is red porphyritic granite, from the 
immense naked masses of which comes the popular sobriquet of " Rocky 
Mountains." This is the gold-producing quartz. The Sierra Madre has 
precipitous mural flanks, which protrude outward as promontories, or 
recede to encase the courses of rivers and valleys. It has peaks, conical 
in shape and culminating by a sharp apex. 

To those who view it in the horizon from below, this is its general 
appearance ; but to those who ascend its ragged front and surmount its 
highest crest, this is found to be a Mesa or indefinite table land as level as 
a water surface. This Sierra .Madre has its own characteristics, which are 
all of the grandest order. I am unable to illustrate it by comparison, 
because it stands supreme and alone, the standard to which all other moun- 
tain masses must be submitted. It is of the original mass of the globe, 
and has neither lava, nor craters, nor active volcanoes, nor traces of the 
igneous force within. It {■& par excellence primeval. Scooped out of its 
main mass are valleys of great size and beauty, which have received from 
the trappers the name of Pares. These occur at regular intervals, alter- 
nately upon either flank, and mark the sources of the great rivers. 

Those which I have seen are the Plain of the South Pass, surrounding 
the sources of the Rio Verde : — the North Pare, upon the Northern Platte 
or Nebraska River : — the Middle Pare, upon the Rio Grande of the 
West : — the South Pare, upon the Southern Platte : — the Pare of San 
Luis, upon the Rio del Norte. These remarkable valleys are all secluded 
within the main dorsal mass of the Cordillera, and are of great size, fer- 
tility, and beauty. They resemble those reservoirs of the Alpine torrents 
of Switzerland (Geneva and Constance), out of which issue the rivers 
Rhone and Rhine : and the valley of Kashmere, through which the Indus 
flows ; though they contain no lakes. 

They are the paradise of the aboriginal herds, with which they swarm 
at all seasons, atid are the favorite retreats of the Indians. To define the 
exact width of the primary Coi'dillera, and mark the line where it fades 
into the Black Hills upon the east, and into the Plateau of the Table 
Lands upon the west, is not easy ; but it varies from 100 to 250 miles, 
according as it expands into salient promontories, or recedes to give 
passage to the rivers. 

We next descend on to the third division, which is the Plateau of 
THE Table Lands. This expands onward to the Cordillera of the Snowy 
Andes. I speak again with great diffidence, but of all the departments 
into which science has arranged the physical geography of the globe, this 
appears to me the most interesting, the most crowded with various and 



attractive features, and tlie most certainly destined eventually to contain 
the most enlightened and powerful empire of the world. 

At present it is no more known or comprehended, as it is, by the Ameri- 
can people than was America itself to the poet Homer, and is to them as 
much a myth as the continent of Atalanta. Nevertheless, it is of such 
great area as to contain within itself three rivers which rank with the 
Granges and Danube in size, and five great ranges of primary mountains. 
This will be seen exactly defined upon the hydrographic map of 1845, as 
the immense longitudinal region encased within the Cordilleras and 
extending from Tehuantepec to the Northern Sea. It would exhaust a 
large volume to recite in detail the interesting features of this region, all 
worthy to be known. 

The Plateau or the Table Lands is a succession of intramontane 
basins, seven in number, and ranging successively from south to north. 
The solid mass of the Andes debouches out of the Isthmus of Tehuan- 
tepec, and forks immediately into the two Cordilleras. Advancing along 
the Western Cordillera into the state of Jalisco, a mountain chain issues 
from its inner flank, and, traversing the Table Lands, plunges into the 
Sierra Madre, in the state of San Luis Potosi. This cuts ofi" to the 
south the " Basin of the City of Mexico,'^ which is t\ie first, the smallest, 
and the most southern of the mountain basins. 

Further north, a second mountain chain crosses from Durango to 
Coahuila, and cuts off' the " Basin of the Bolson di Mapimi." This is 
the second mountain basin. The ' Cordilleras, which flank these two and 
fence them from the seas, have so great an altitude that the ocean vapors 
never surmount their crests, nor do any clouds pass outward over them. 
These basins, therefore, have no outward drainage, nor any rivers run- 
ning to the sea. Stagnant lakes alternately receive the drainage from 
their surrounding mountains, and yield it to them again by evaporation. 
This last chain is known as the " Mountain of the Rio Florida ;" the 
former as the " Mountain of Queretaro." 

Pursuing still the Western Cordillera through the state of Sinaloa, a 
third mountain chain, dividing off", traverses the Table Lands due north, 
and plunges into the Sierra Madre, between the Pare of San Luis and the 
Middle Pai-c. This is an immense and remarkable mountain, is 1300 
miles in length, and divides the waters of the Del Norte and Colorado. 
It is the famous Sierra Mimhres. 

The area thus cut off between it and the mountain of the Rio Florida 
is drained by the rivers Del Norte, Pecos, and Conehos, which, uniting at 
the western base of the Sierra Madre, perforate it by a canon, and, escap- 
ing into the external maritime region, form the Rio Grande of Texas. 


This is the only water-course which perforates the Sierra Maclre between 
Cape Horn and the Arctic Sea. It is here that a profound and distressing 
error pervades all the existing charts and delineations of our continental 
geography. These, omitting the great Sierra Madre for 600 or 700 miles 
of its length, and assigning its name to the Sierra Mimbres, locate the 
Rio del Norte and its vast basin with the system of Atlantic rivers. Yet 
the Sierra Mimbres abounds in pedrigals of lava, craters, and volcanic 
phenomena, and the geological altitude, configuration, and a thousand pal- 
pable characteristic features of the basin of the Del Norte, locate them 
upon the Plateau of the Table Lands. This blunder of transposition is 
more foolish than to construct a map of Europe and forget the Alps, or to 
draw for the people a pine-tree growing erect in the middle of the ocean, 
whilst dolphins graze upon a mountain slope ! The vast basin of the 
Del Norte is then the tliird in order of the mountain basins of the 

The Western Cordillera continues to traverse Sonora, and, passing 
round the Gulf of California, reappears in sight of the ocean in the State 
of California. Opposite San Bernardo another mountain chain branches 
from its eastern flank, traverses the Table Lauds by a northern course, 
dividing the waters of the Colorado and Great Salt Lake, and plunges into 
the Sierra Madre between the sources of Green River and Snake River. 
This is the fourth great mountain chain of the Table Lauds, is 1000 miles 
in length, and is the Sierra Wasatch. 

Between it and the Sierra Mimbres is included the immense Mountain 
Basin op the Colorado, which is the fourth subdivision of the area of 
the Table Lands. This basin has an immense area, great altitude, an 
infinite perplexity of mountains, and is redundant in striking and wonder- 
ful novelties. The Rio Verde, Rio Grande of the West, and Rio San 
Juan, collect its upper waters, and, uniting against the inner flank of the 
Cordillera of the Snowy Andes, goi'ge it diagonally through and through, 
and escape into the Gulf of California. This sublime gorge is 557 miles 
in length, and is known as the " Canon of the Colorado." It is through- 
out a narrow mountain chasm, traversing, without interruption, the very 
bowels of the Andes, having perpendicular mural sides, often many thou- 
sand feet in altitude. 

Other important affluents of the Colorado (the Mohabe, the Little Colo- 
rado, and the Gila) force their way into it by an infinite labyrinth of 
gorges, similarly scooped through the bowels of the mountain mass. 
These two remarkable basins, then, — the Del Norte and Colorado, — lie 
against the Sierra Mimbres, as a backbone. The waters of the first gorge 
the Eastern Cordillera to the Gulf of Mexico ; those of the second, the 


Western Cordillera to the Grulf of California ; but no gorge unites them 
through the Sierra Mimbres, which is unperforated. 

These basins are both longitudinal in shape and position ; they overlap 
one another, and thereby multiply the number and complexity of moun- 
tain barriers. Among the physical phenomena of the globe, this " Canon 
of the Colorado'" is an isolated fact, unique and sublime in interest. 

These two basins are, par excellence, the metalliferous department of 
the world, and are infused throughout with mountains of the precious 
stones, and precious and base metals — of lava, obsidian, and marble — of 
salt, coal, and with rivers of thermal and medicinal waters. 

Let me hasten to other subdivisions of equal interest. Near the forty- 
second degree of latitude, the Western Cordillera throws off the fifth 
mountain chain of the Table Lands. This has a serpentine course, mainly 
east and west, is 1200 miles long, and forms the division between the hasin 
of the Salt Lake and the basin of the Columbia. It joins with the Sierra 
Wasatch, and immediately at the point of junction, plunges with it into 
the Eastern Cordillera. 

This great basin, containing in one of its depressions the Salt Lake, is 
the counterpart, on our continent, of the Caspian of Asia. It is, like the 
first and second basins, encased all around with an unperforated mountain 
wall, and neither sends nor receives water from any sea. 

Nearly opposite to Puget's Sound, a sixth chain of mountains, break- 
ing off from the eastern flank of the Western Cordillera, traverses the 
Table Lands by a due northern course, and sinks into the Eastern Cor- 
dillera, closely enveloping the sources of the Columbia Elver. This is 
called the Okennagan Mountains, and divides the waters of the 
Columbia from those of Frazer's River. 

The Basin of the Columbia is the sixth in order of the basins of 
the Table Lands. It is the most admirable of them all. A sf)lendid 
circular configuration and two primary rivers. Its size, position, and con- 
figuration, relatively to the Mississippi Valley and the Pacific Ocean, 
make it the elite of them all. It extends all across the Table Lands from 
rim to rim, as do both its great rivers — the Snake River and the Colum- 
bia — which, uniting, gorge the Western Cordillera at the Cascades, pene- 
trating through them to the Pacific in 46° 19'. They run from east to 
west, and connect exactly by convenient and single passes across the East- 
ern Cordillera, with the great rivers flowing down to the Atlantic. It 
partakes of all the cardinal characteristics of the other basins, having, in 
addition, mighty forests, navigation, a lai-ger share of arable qualities, and 
a superior economy in its topographical surface and position. 

Such are the six primary basins and mountain chains which checker 


and arrange themselves into tlie GtRANd Plateau of the Table Lands, 
a^I have seen them and bfecome familiar with them. There is a seventh, 
the basin of Frazer's River, with which I am acquainted only from the 
reports of others who have recounoitered it. It has the same general 
features, though smaller, longitudinal in direction, and narrow. 

We may now, then, return to the third elementary division of the 
mountain formation of North America, namely : The Plateau of the 
Table Lands. We may understand its variety and vastness, yet handle 
it as a unit. The lowest sedimentary points, where the waters accumulate 
into the lakes of Mexico, Mapimi, Gusman, and Salt Lake, have an 
average altitude of 6000 feet above the seas. The whole Plateau has then 
the elevation of a primary mountain. It is everywhere fertile, being pas- 
toral for the most part, but arable where irrigation is adopted. 

Every geological formation exists on a Titanic scale : volcanoes, colum- 
nar basalt, and pedrigals of crystallized lava ; porphyritic granite and 
sandstone, and secondary basins of the sulphate and carbonate of lime. It 
is universally a rainless region, and nowhere is arable agriculture possible 
without artificial irrigation. Pastoral culture is the prominent feature, 
wherein it rivals the Great Plains. The air is tonic and exhilarating — 
the atmosphere resplendent with perpetual sunshine by day and with stars 
by night. The climate is intensely dry, and the temperature variant and 

Habitations are not essential in this salubrious and vernal clime ; the 
aborigines dispense with them. During six years that I have passed upon 
the Plateau, I have rarely slept within a house or beneath any canopy but 
the sky, infinitely spangled with stars. Upon this Plateau has existed, 
within our memory, the populous and civilized empire of the Aztecs, and 
in South America that of the lucas. Timber grows upon the rivers and 
upon the irrigated mountain flanks. To arrange the arable lands for irri- 
gation is not more costly than our system of fencing, which it supersedes. 
No portion of the globe can maintain so dense a population. 

But the fourth subdivision of the " Mountain Formation of North 
America" is the Snowy Cordillera op the Andes. Everybody is 
familiar, from childhood, with the South American Andes. This of ours 
is the same, unchanged in any characteristic, except an increased and 
superior grandeur. Let us restore to it its ancient and illustrious name! 
Let us inquire how it has come temporarily to be lost. 

The Andes traverse the American continent, in one unbroken and 
uniform mass, from Cape Horn to Behring's Strait. Towards the ocean, 
to whose indented shore they are parallel, and from which they are every- 
where visible, they present a precipitous front and immense altitude ; they 


everywhere surmount the line of perpetual snow. Upon this front, which 
receives the perpetual winds from the ocean and is bathed with its vapors, 
snows and forests accumulate as upon the Alps. But on their summit of 
perpetual congelation, these vapors, condensed to ice, are as solid, as per- 
petual, as the granite rocks. No vapors pass over to the hmer region, 
which is naked of snow, timber, or irrigation. Plence has come this dis- 
tinctive Spanish sobriquet of this sublime sea-wall — Cordillera Nevada de 
los Andes (the snowy chain of the Andes) — to define it specifically from 
the naked masses within ! Thus, since this ancient and familiar Andes 
has come to be domesticated in our republican empire, within the States 
of California and Oregon, has it been thoughtlessly jilundered of its 
name, defined only by an expletive, snoivy, and incontinently ignored of 
its supreme, coronated rank in the mountain system of the world. 

• If, then, you require from me a description of this foiirth subdivision 
of our mountain formation, I bid you to peruse again the fascinating pages 
of Prescott and his predecessors ; the romantic historians of Cortez, 
Alvarado, and Pizarro ; and, above all, the oracular inspiration with 
which the illustrious Humboldt has analyzed the geographical wonders 
of this Cordillera of the Snowy Andes, and tinted them with divine 
eloquence ! 

Finally, I am bewildered how to speak of the Ji/th subdivision, which 
is the Pacific Maritime Front. This brings us out to meet the ocean, 
to blend together the varieties of sea and land, and where, among the 
assembled climates and countries of the globe, Cornucopia permanently 
dwells with her ever-redundant and overflowing horn of ripening beauty 
and plenty. 

This Pacific Maritime Front is the counterpart of that outside of the 
Alleghany and upon the Atlantic. It is the tide-water region. The 
Atlantic Front has an area of 271,000 square miles, this of 420,000 ; it 
is not much broader from the mountains to the sea, but' has a greater lon- 
gitude. In every detail of climate, vegetation, soil, and physical forma- 
tion, there is between these two seaboards the completest contrast. 

On the Pacific are blended, beneath the eye, and swept in at one sight, 
the sublime, castellated masses of the Andes — their bases are set in the 
emerald verdure of the plain, rising gently above the sea-level — their 
middle flanks are clothed with the arborescent grandeur of pine and cedar 
forests. Naked above, and towering into the upper air, their columnar 
form of structure resembles an edifice designed to enclose the whole globe 
itself; but from this foundation, and rearing their snow-covered crests 
another mile into the firmament, shoot up volcanic peaks at intervals of 
one hundred miles, encasing the throats of the inner world of fire, and 


coruscated in perpetual snow, beneatli coronets of volcanic smoke and 

The sublimest of the oceans ; majestic rivers more worthy to be deified 
than the Gauges or Egyptian Nile ; the grandest and most elevated of 
earth's mountains ; superlative forest evergreen; an emerald verdure and 
exuberant fertility ; a mellow and delicious atmosphere, imbued with 
purple tints reflected from the ocean and the mountains ; a soft vernal 
temperature the year round. Whatsoever can be combined of massive 
and rugged mountains, picturesque landscape, and a verdant face to nature 
shining under the richest sunlight : a climate soft and serene ; whatsoever 
of all these, blended and enjoyed in combination, will accomplish to give 
grace, elevation, and refinement to the social world, are here united to woo 
and develop the genius of our country and our people. 

In all these natural favors our western seaboard front is supremely more 
gifted than the classic shores of the Mediterranean and the Asian Seas, 
for fifty centuries the favorite theme of history, poetry, and song. The 
embellishments which old society and the accumulating contributions of a 
hundred successive generations add to nature, are not yet there ; hut these 
will come, and to us who fan the career of our great country wliilst we 
live, the future, which posterity will possess and enjoy, is full of the radi- 
ance of true glory. 

Such is a homespun and laconic detail of a few essential facts necessary 
to comprehend the ^^ Mountain Formation of North America," and to 
know where and what it is. The subject is above the reach of imagina- 
tion or ornament, and of a higher level. Intelligent research and candid 
judgment must supply the rest and fill up the portrait. 



This is an immense dejDartment of our country, of primary significance 
and interest. Vaguely denominated tlie " Stony or Rocky Mountains," 
occupying an inhospitable waste beyond the energies of social adventure, 
mankind has heretofore heard the name with indifference, and all minute 
details with dogmatic aversion. To establish its title to esteem in the 
popular opinion of the world, the complete reverse of this, is my object. 

Prominent in the " Mountain System of the Globe" is an immense 
girdle of mountains, granitic in formation, crested with snow, having vol- 
canoes on its flanks, and auriferous throughout. This commences at Cape 
Horn, traverses the whole length of America to Behring's Strait, tra- 
verses Asia and Europe to the Pillars of Hercules, traverses Africa and 
appears in the islands of Madagascar, Australasia, and New Zealand. If 
the single strait of Hercules were closed, and Suez opened, this continu- 
ous mountain crest would exactly contain all the salt and fresh waters of 
the Basin of the Pacific Ocean in a closed circle, and divide them from 
those of the Basin of the Atlantic. 

This continuous girdle becomes, in some localities, very much condensed 
in breadth and altitude, as at the Isthmus of Central America, and in 
Prance. Elsewhere it assumes immense expansion in area and altitude, 
spreading out and elevating itself into the continental plateau, which occu- 
pies the whole of Central Asia, and the still grander " Plateau of the 
Table Lands" of our North America. 

The ^'■Mountain Formation of North America!'' is, then, an important 
section of this immense girdle, which bisects all the continents. 

It has an area, a massiveness and altitude, a position and climate, a fer- 
tility, a variety which blends all the peculiarities of all other sections : a 
simplicity of configuration, and a sublimity of profile which transcends all 
the rest. 

Thus, in the " Cordillera Nevada de los Andes^^ is found the full equiv- 
alent of the South American mountains, volcanoes, active and extinct, 
crowned with glaciers and of immense altitude, battlements of columnar 
basalt, pedrigals of lava, subterranean and thermal streams. The plateau 


and its primary chains outrival in area and interest those of South Ameiica 
and Asia combined. 

Finally, the stern and stupendous masses of the Himalaya find them- 
selves surpassed by the primeval bulk, the prodigious length and breadth 
the immense mesas, the romantic pares, the far protruding llanos, and the 
cloud-compelling icy peaks of the Cordillera of the Sierra Madre. 

" The Chain of the Mother Mountain" is the generic name which piety 
awards to this continuous crest, down whose flanks descend all the feeders 
of the oceans. Let me name them : the Athabasca, the Saskatchewan, 
the supreme Missouri and Mississippi, the St. Lawrence, the Texan rivers, 
the Kio Grrande del Norte, the Frazer, the Columbia, and the Colorado, in 
the Northern continent. In the Southern, the Magdalena, the Orinoco, 
the Amazon, the La Plata, the Patagonia rivers, and those of the Pacific 
slope. Is not this Cordillera then rightly called the Mother of Rivers ? 

The fresh waters of the earth come from the clouds ; the clouds come 
by evaporation from the expanses of the oceans. We shall know that the 
Sierra Madre divides and rules the meteoric powers and aerial fluids of 
the atmosphere, equally as the waters which we see descending down the 

But let me at present restrict myself to the Cordillera as it runs athwart 
our 'own country, and define its varied features as they display themselves 
to my eye, looking out as I now am from the area of the Great Plains 
westward to the Pacific. 

It is where the mountain mass debouches north from the Isthmus of 
Tehuantepec, that it bifurcates into the two primary Cordilleras, which 
continue to expand from one another. The Mother Mountain, on the east, 
gives its form to the Gulf of INIexico, whose shore it pursues nearly to the 
Pass of Monterey and Saltillo. Hence to the Arctic Sea the crest pre- 
serves a very regular line to the north-northwest. 

At the point of entrance into our present territory, it is gorged by the 
caiion of the Rio Grande del Norte. This canon is a gorge cut obliquely 
through and through the bowels of the Cordillera, where the river, bur- 
rowing a chasm 125 miles in length, accomplishes at once its exit into the 
maritime region and its descent from the '■'■Plateau of the Tahle Lands." 
This gorge, impracticable for common uses, is the only water current by 
which the Sierra Madre is perforated anywhere between the extremities 
of the continent. I have elsewhere spoken of this caiion, together with 
that of the Colorado and that of the Columbia, as the three remarkable 
and only water-gaps whereby the plateau discharges its surplus waters to 
the seas. 

The Cordillera of the Sierra Madre enters our territory in latitude 29°, 


longitude 103°, and passes beyond the 49tli degree, in longitude 114°. Its 
length, then, within these limits, exceeds 1600 miles. It maintains an 
average distance from the Mississippi River exceeding 1000 miles, and 
has the same distance from the beach of the Pacific Ocean ; it forms, 
therefore, a continuous summit crest parallel to and midway between them. 

All the varieties of formation which distinguish the mountain chains 
of the continents here follow one another, or are blended in groups, and 
exist on a Titanic scale of magnitude. 

3Iesas exist, being mountains of immense base and perpendicular walls, 
whose summits have the level surface and smoothness of a table : Butes, 
which are conical peaks wrought into perfect symmetry of contour by the 
corroding power of the atmosphere : Llanos, being mesas of inferior ele- 
vation prolonged outward as promontories protruding from the mountain 
flanks, and separating from one another the descending rivers : Canons, 
chasms walled in on either side with mural precipices of mountain alti- 
tiide ; Bayous, or pares, valleys scooped out of the main dorsal mass of the 
Cordillera, within which they are encased, each as an amphitheatre. 

This mountain crest, exhibiting all these varieties of profile, has, when 
seen against the horizon, the resemblance of a saw or cock's-comb, whence 
the sobriquet Sierra ; the continuous mass on which they rest resembles 
a chain of links or cord with knots, whence the name Cordillera. Thus 
is seen the expressive definition wherein the first Europeans, the Spaniards, 
our predecessors, have compressed this supreme mou.ntain feature of our 
continent, Cordillera de la Sierra Madre ! 

To bring the mind to an easy and familiar understanding of this sub- 
ject, embracing so many details, it is necessary to ascend to the summit 
crest at the forty-ninth degree, from hence to follow its sinuous edge to 
the south, to skim from point to point of the serrated profile, and, from 
this elevation, to extend the vision outward on either flank to where it 
subsides into the general foundation of the continent. 

From such a position the eye continually overlooks the " Plateau of 
the Tahle Lands'''' on the west, the '■'■Basin of the Mississippi" on the 

The average elevation of the crest is 12,000 feet above the sea ; that of 
the broad pediment, from whose longitudinal axis it rises, 6000 feet ; the 
breadth across is 300 miles ; so stupendous in area, bulk, and solidity, is 
the mass of the Sierra Madre ! ' 

Every one has built card houses in childhood, having a second story 
over the centre ; such a structure illustrates a cross section of the Sierra 
Madre in its primeval form. 

This regularity of form has disappeared under the corroding influences 


of the atmosphere, operating during countless ages, and the abrading 
powers of a thousand rivers, carrying down their attritions to the sea. 
AVhat is left presents an immense labyrinth of mountain summits, under- 
mined and channeled to a profound depth by the yawning gorges of the 

Advancing then along the Mother crest in the direction indicated, the 
whole eastern flank to the 43d° of latitude, and 109th° of longitude (the 
South Pass), is striped with the rivers which converge to form the Mis- 
souri proper and the Yellowstone. These are the Milk River, the Mis- 
souri, the Wisdom, Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin forks, all converging 
into the IMissouri ; the Yellowstone proper, the Wind, Pokeagie, and 
Powder Piivers, all converging into the Yellowstone. 

These rivers, each having its complement of affluents, are all of great 
length, and pour down an immense volume of waters. A very small pro- 
portion reaches the sea, for where they debouch from the mountains at 
the lowest altitude, these waters are consumed by evaporation, rising t& 
quench the thirst of the arid atmosphere and surface of the great prairie 
ocean. But down the western flank, within the same limits, descend 
rivers of equal number and magnitude, going to traverse the elevated 
"Basin of the Columbia ;" these are the Columbia proper, the Cottonais, 
the Flatbow, Pend-oreilles, Spokan, Salmon, and Snake Rivers. 

These rivers have a more immediate descent to the sea than those upon 
the east ; the mountain spurs between them are, therefore, more numer- 
ous, abrupt, and of greater altitude. 

It is easily discernible that over this serrated crest, whence so many 
rivers radiate as from a single knife-edge, there are many depressions or 
passes, having every variety of altitude and accessibility. The gorges 
which lead outward from these passes, all eventually converge to the Mis- 
souri and to the Columbia. 

The more southern portion of this mountain crest, where it divides the 
waters of the Yellowstone and Snake Rivers, and is seen from the great 
road of the South Pass traveled by our people, has the local name of 
"Wind River Mountain." The mountain crest, curving to the east, and 
describing a semicircle, envelops the whole basin of the Yellowstone as in 
a cul-de-sac, and, subsiding gradually in altitude, disappears upon the 
bank of the Missouri. 

It is by this peculiar configuration that the mountain crest here practi- 
cally disappears, and leaves the open depression of the South Pass, into 
which we gain access by the Sweetwater on the east, and by Snake River 
on the west, passing, by this means, completely around the arc described 
by the Wind River Mountain crest. 


A similar configuration to this exists, on a small scale, in the Alps 
dividing France from Italy, wliich may be mentioned here on account of 
the aptness of the illustration and the familiarity with which history has 
for twenty centuries invested it. 

It is where the Alpine crest, under the successive names of Savoy Alps, 
Mount Cenis, and Maritime Alps, sweeps round in a regular arc from 
Geneva to Grenoa, and thence subsiding into the Apennines, bisects Italy 
lengthwise to the sea. 

Within this arc is embraced the basin of the Po, called once Liguria, 
but now Piedmont. Around this arc marched the armies of Brennus and 
Hannibal : those of the Romans passing into Gaul by the plain of the 
Rhone ; and here also still pass the armies and people of France and the 
modern Europeans. 

Upon Snake River is developed the most northern of the pares. As 
this river descends from the Sierra Madre, it debouches into and bisects 
an immense plain of the most novel and remarkable features. This is the 
Lava Plain. It is an elliptical bowl, embraced between the Salmon River 
and Snake River Mountains, 325 miles in length and 95 in breadth. It 
is a uniform pedrigal or flat surface of vitrified basalt, melted by volcanic 
fires, and congealed as into a lake of cast iron. 

Along its longitudinal axis stand isolated peaks, known as the " Three 
Butes," which erect themselves to the snow line, like volcanic cones pro- 
truding above the sea. Cracks of profound depth traverse this plain, 
whose blasted surface is without vegetation or water. It is traversed 
beneath by subterranean streams, which issue from natural tunnels in the 
wall of Snake River, plunging into its bed by magnificent cascades. 

Bald nakedness, rather than sterility, is the extreme characteristic of 
this wonderful plain, which has around its rim a fringe of little " oases'' 
upon the streams bubbling from the mountain base, of exquisite fertility 
and of the most perfect romantic beauty. 

When we call to memory the interest attracted in every age to the 
diminutive formations of crystalline basalt upon the north of Ireland, near 
the city of Mexico, and in Southern Italy, we are struck with awe at the 
repetition here of these same phenomena, on a scale of stupendous grandeur. 

Upon the alternate flank of the Sierra Madre, the bowl of the Yellow- 
stone properly classifies itself as the second in order of the pares, having 
its oval form streaked longitudinally with many parallel and narrow moun- 
tain ridges gorged by parallel rivers. This pare is very fertile, of the 
grandest scenery, and a delightful climate. 

Such is a partial sketch of the Cordillera of the Sierra Madre, from the 
49th° to the 43d° of latitude. A few denominating features only are 


pointed out ; the serrated crests, alternately rising into peaks and mesas 
above the snows, and depressed by passes ; the flanks gorged by descend- 
ing rivers or branching out into mountain spurs between them — the pares ; 
the general direction is south-southeast. 

I omit to speak of the regions around the higher sources of the Mis- 
souri and Columbia, and still onward to the north, not because they are 
less interesting and attractive, but because I have not myself seen them, 
and because they are of identical features, and are as yet remote from the 
column of progressing empire. 

The third ])arG is the plain of the South Pass. Although adjacent to 
the other two, it is in perfect contrast to them in all its characteristic 
features. Its surface of clay has the perfect smoothness of a water plain, 
over which the eye ranges without interruption. Rain is rare, and the 
vegetation of grass and artemisia scanty and uniform. 

Upon its south front rises again the Cordillera, under the local name of 
Table Mountain. This forms an immense arc, similar to the Wind River 
Mountain, but in the opposite direction, for, turning to the southwest, it 
subsides to the Rio Verde, which is the great Colorado. These two arcs 
approach one another within thirty miles, forming a double corner over 
the gorge through which the Sweetwater escapes. To mark the conti- 
nuity of the mother crest, a gentle crown traverses the plain from one 
mountain corner to the other, only traceable by the perfect division which 
it makes between the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. 

In the Table Mountain the Cordillera rises again. It resumes its direc- 
tion, configuration, and altitude, which it preserves with uninterrupted 
uniformity clear through the continent to Tehuantepec. As far as the 38th 
degi'ee of latitude it sheds the waters of the great Colorado from its western 
flank ; those of the Platte and Arkansas Rivers from its eastern flank. 

I am admonished here to pause and fix attention on the number, gran- 
deur, and variety of the physical elements combined around this culmi- 
nating point of the mountains and the rivers of our continent. 

Nature here, more perfectly than at any other point upon the globe, 
unites into one grand coujo-d' all her grandest features, which, harmo- 
niously grouped, present to the mind a combination of superlative sub- 

These contrasted pares, so different, yet so close together ! the intense 
massiveness of the Cordillera ! the number and proximity of great rivers ! 
the brilliancy and serenity of the atmosphere in which they shine! the 
awful storms which at long intervals brew among and shatter the iced 
mountain tops ! the graphic conviction ever present to the mind of the 
immediate presence and presiding omnipotence of the Creator I 


The impression left with, me, and made by the pec-nliar grit and appear- 
ance of the soil which overlays the plain of the South Pass, is of a 
" placer of kaoline," resembling the biscuit from which porcelain is burned. 
This is disintegrated, and washed down from the bald mountain flanks of 
porphyritic granite. Whether there may be also here concealed immense 
placers of gold and precious stones, coming from the same source, is not 
yet tested ; but such ought to be the fact, from the pure auriferous mate- 
rial of the mountains. 

To resume again the pursuit of the mountain crest. This continues to 
recover its altitude. Soon upon the eastern flank the Xorthern Pare, or 
Bull-pen, reveals itself; along whose centre meanders the great Platte 
River, here running to the north in a direction contrary to the mountain 
crest. This is the fourth in number of the pares, but has been the first 
and best known in popular reputation. 

Being very large, very central, and easily accessible to us going out from 
the lower Missouri, it became the first favorite winter home of the early 
trappers and explorers. It is an amphitheatre of large ai'ea, whose moun- 
tain walls, covered with soil, vegetation, and scattered forests of evergreens, 
slope gradually up on every side. Its level plain is laced with streams 
and checkered with meadows, sparkling with flowers and romantic groves, 
in perfectly graceful alternations ; its atmosphere is genial and exhilara- 
ting, and the temperature mild throughout the year. 

Immediately be^'ond the highest extremity of \he fourth, but upon the 
west or alternate flank of the mountain crest, the eye drops into the bowl 
of the fifth or Middle Pare, expanding to contain the confluent streams 
which form the grand river of the Colorado. 

This pare is larger in area than the fourth, but is vexed with far-pro- 
truding mountain spurs, narrow streams rattling over rocky beds, and a 
cloiidy atmosphere, made fltful by the altitude and close proximity of snow- 
clad mountain backs. This pare has its mouth towards the Pacific. 
Towering iip from the mountain crest, where it divides these two pares, 
rises the snowy head of Long's Peak, whose eastern front beetles over the 
Great Plains, from which it is seen for fifty leagues by those who travel 
up the Basin of the Kansas. 

Still immediately follows on the eastern flanks the Bayou Salado, or South- 
ern Pare, which is the sixth. This is the mountain's bowl, scooped out 
for itself by the Southern Platte, as it descends from the snowy cap of 
Lincoln's Peak. This pare has the same general characteristics as the 
fourth, but is greatly inferior to it in size, fertility, and climate, being 
closely hedged in by great mountains, from whose snows descend incessant 
storms, and a febrile dampness infesting the atmosj)here. From the same 


glacier which surmounts Lincohi's Peak descends the Arkansas River upon 
the reverse slope. The river has no pare ; it defiles into the plains through 
a caiion. 

Here is discernible in the mountain crest the same curvilinear sweep as 
in the Wind River mass. Here occurs a similar concentric knot of moun- 
tain crests, rivers, and pares. But here the mountain crest, having curved 
outward to accomplish the separation of the Platte and Arkansas, con- 
denses into the snowy promontory of Pike's Peak, and terminates in an 
abrupt precipice to the Great Plains. 

At both of these remarkable focal points, nature seems to have insti- 
tuted a primeval conflict between the abrading power of the rivers and 
the stubborn resistance of the porphyritic durability of the mountain 
barrier. At the northern focus, the triumph of the rivers presents a com- 
plete harmony of the passes, which enter at all points upon the plain 
of the South Pass, and connect across it. At the southern focus, the 
unscathed impenetrability of the mountain porjjhyry presents on every 
front its mural precipice of undiminished altitude ; here, then, the aus- 
tere rigidity of the mountain mass triumphs and admits no transit direct 

To complete the perfect counterpart resemblance between these foci, 
opens from the western flank of the mother crest, the Bayou San Luis, 
which is the seventh pare. 

This is, in physical formation and in every detail, the exact twin 
counterpart of the pare of the " Plain of the South Pass." The Sierra 
Mimbres bounds its western edge, along whose base flows the Rio Bravo 
del Norte. 

Elliptical in shape, level as the sea, equal to the third pare in area, 
encompassed by the sublimest scenery, abundantly irrigated by streams, 
6500 feet in altitude, it has an alluvial soil of luxuriant fertility, and 
seasons eminently propitious to agriculture. It is in this delicious " Bai/ 
of the Sierras'" that the current flow of time will find renewed, identified, 
and developed, all the charms with which Oriental narrative and song- 
have invested the lovely Valley of Kashmere ! 

The Spanish Peaks outflank the mountain crest under the 38th degree of 
latitude. From hence to the 29th degree it sheds the waters of the Rio 
Bravo del Norte from its western flank ; from the eastern flank descend the 
Arkansas and the Red River, flowing to the Mississippi, and the rivers of 
Texas, flowing directly to the Gulf 

The whole front is masked towards the east with a screen of secondary 
mesas (tables) termed distinctively llanos. These are immense triangular 
terraces, of half the altitude of the Sierra, resting against its flank, pro- 


truding outward many hundred miles, gradually dwarfing in breadth, until 
they terminate in an acute angle. 

They have an uninterrapted level surface of calcareous soil, a scanty 
herbage, and rainless atmosphere, an imperceptible dip towards their ter- 
minations, where they present an abrupt wall of many thousand feet in 
altitude, suspended above the Great Plains. 

All along these mural flanks come out innumerable streams, which go 
to form the Arkansas, the Red River, and all the rivers which traverse 
Texas. Thus is explained the confusion which perplexes the public mind, 
struggling to arrange the physical configuration of this immense region, 
as yet only partially explored. 

To the Mexican people who inhabit the higher mountain region, this is 
known as the lower plain ; by the people of the maritime region, who see 
from below its ragged front, it is designated as the Gruadaloupe Moun- 
tains, and by other names. 

But this system of llanos, seen most distinctly in Texas as the Llano 
Estacado and the Llano of the Balsifoeta^ has an extent and magnitude 
on a scale commensurate with all the other distinctive formations. It is 
the continuous screen or Piedmont which gi-aduates the immense declina- 
tion in altitude from the summit crest of the Cordillera to the smooth 
expanse of the Great Plains. It appears from above as a depressed mesa ; 
from below as a series of ragged mountain chains. Geologically it is, as 
it were, a continental terrace or steppe, or bench of the sulphate of lime 
(plaster of Paris), elevated above the Great Plains, which are carbonate 
of lime ; depi-essed below the Cordillera, which is porphyritic granite. 

I may with propriety pause here to speak of the Basin of the Kansas, 
both on account of the fitness of the opportunity, and because this delicious 
country, surrounding the very navel of our continent and embracing its 
geographical centre, has from that fact a perpetual and paramount interest. 

The Kansas River has its extreme sources beneath the roots of Pike's 
Peak, where they have ceased to interrupt the plains. The Platte and 
Arkansas envelop it, and form a line of drainage between it and the Cor- 
dillera. But in front of the Kansas Basin the screen of the Piedmont is 
interrupted and disappears, so that the Great Plains stretch up to the base 
of the naked Cordillera, which reveals at one sight the towering masses 
of Pike's and Long's Peaks, and the curtain of snowy mountains which 
connects them. 

' A similar coup -d' mil is seen, as presents itself to an Italian standing 
upon the Po above Milan, whose eye sweeps the Plain of Lombardy, and 
ascends to the snowy summits of the highest Alps, without any interven- 
ing objects to interrupt the vision. A similar resemblance to the Alpine 


formation which characterizes the partially-explored masses immediately to 
the west, has acquired for them the local name of " Helvetian Mountains." 

From these two peaks, — Long's Peak to the north, and Pike's Peak to 
the south, — as from twin radiating points, the Piedmont expands from the 
eastern flank of the Cordillera, like a half-open fan. Towards the north 
are the Medicine-Bow Mountain and the Laramie Plain ; towards the south, 
the Ratone Mountain, the Llano Balsifoeta, and the Llano Estacado. 

Such is an effort to delineate and classify the prominent physical features 
of the Mother Cordillera of our country ; the serrated axis which forms 
its core ; the system of pares ; the system of rivers and mountain spurs ; 
the peaks and mesas ; the system of llanos. Its material mass is primeval 
granite. Volcanoes, active or extinct, craters and their igneous discharges, 
are not found. (These exist upon the Platemi and in the Andes beyond.) 

This Cordillera is auriferous throughout. It contains all forms of 
minerals, metals, stones, salts, and earths ; in short, every useful shape in 
which matter is elsewhere found to arrange itself, and in all the geological 

The prominent agricultural feature of the Cordillera is fertility — pastoral 
fertility. Stupendous peaks and battlements exist, extreme in bald and 
sterile nakedness ; plains there are blasted with perpetual aridity and con- 
gealed by perpetual frosts. 

The space thus occupied is small ; indigenous grasses, fruits, and vege- 
tables abound ; it swarms with animal life and aboriginal cattle ; food of 
grazing and carnivorous animals, fowls and fish, is everywhere found ; the 
forests and flora are superlative ; the immense dimensions of nature render 
accessibility universal. An atmosphere of intense brilliancy and tonic 
tone overflows and embalms all nature ; health and longevity are the lot 
of man. 

It is necessary to be condensed and brief. A million of interesting 
facts are left unmentioned. Then the Cordillera of the Sierra Madre is 
but a third part in area of our " mountam formation." If the inquiring 
spirit and patriarchal fire of Jefferson ^nd of Astor still burn in the pop- 
ular heart, the continental mission of 1776 will revive and reanimate our 
generation. Counterfeit geography, promulgated with ofiicial dogmatism, 
will cease to be fashionable, or to defeat the divine instinct of the people. 
Patriotism, pioneered by truth and genuine science, will reveal and com- 
prehend our continental geography as it is, huge in dimensions, sublime in 
order and symmetry, a unity in plan. Our political and social empire, 
expanded to the same dimensions, harmonized to the same checkered 
variety, will assume a similar order, a like symmetry, and crown hope with 
a similar solid and enduring perpetuity. 




It is now twenty-seven years, nearly a full generation, since I submitted 
to tlie scrutiny of science and the public "A HydrograpMc 3Iap of 
North America" exhibiting in daguerreotype the cardinal physical archi- 
tecture of our continent. Upon this is exactly defined the Mountain 
Formation^ inclosing the Plateau of the Tahle Lands. This subdivision 
of our country, amounting to one-third of the whole area, comes now in 
the bounding march of empire, to have a necessary, an intense, a pre-emi- 
nent interest to our people. 

Undoubtedly the scheme of Independence, inaugurated in 1776, sus- 
tained through the fortitude of the Revolution, and consummated in the 
Union of 1787, contemplated and commenced a Continental Republic ! 
In the ripening of time, we are now called upon to receive into this con- 
tinental Union the independent and equal States of the Plateau, and to 
construct across it a complete system of continental railway. 

How it is that immense facts, dormant since creation, and noticed only 
to be unanimously rejected by human society, flash suddenly out of mid- 
night obscurity, and by a single step plant themselves upon the very 
throne itself of public attention, may be thus illustrated : Columbus, 
intent upon discovering a direct route by sea to Oriental Asia, died with- 
out any thought of the new continent, or knowledge that he had seen it. 
Amerigo Vespucci, a younger navigator, identified the new continent, 
established its existence in the popular mind, and gave to it his own name, 

Thus, in 1842, commenced to agitate itself throughout America, the 
energetic geographical movement, to reorganize the column of central pro- 
gress artificially stagnated in Missouri since 1820. 

Exploration, conquest, the conversion of the wilderness, have since 
advanced with intense celerity. 

As is the case with all normal instincts: war, peace, domestic and 
foreign schemes of opposition, have each contributed to precipitate its 
advance and fire its activity. 

The American people are, then, now advancing, victoriously to plant 


democratic empire co-equal with the area of the continent. The grand 
novelty which rises in front, is the Plateau of the Table Lands. This 
Plateau, inclosed within the Cordilleras of the Mountain Formation, pos- 
sesses characteristics new to mankind, and about to arrest the attention and 
sway the mental energies of America. 

In the first place, it is necessary, by reference and comparison, to iden- 
tify this Plateau ; to discover what and where it is ; and thence to go on 
and demonstrate its area, its climate, its capacity, and its geographical 
power in the world. 

Asia contains two plateaux ; South America, one ; North America, one. 
Europe and Africa have great mountain chains, but no plateau. 

The immense Plateau of Asia occupies the central region of that con- 
tinent, extending east and west from the Pontic Sea to Middle China. It 
is inclosed between the Himalaya Mountains and those of Siberia, em- 
bracing the upper and lower plains of Thibet and the great lakes, the 
Caspian Sea, the Sea of Aral, and the Balkash Sea, with the rivers that 
flow into them. 

This great space is fenced imperviously from the oceans by a circuit of 
primeval mountains : it extends east and west 4800 miles, between the 
latitudes 35° and 50°. Its average breadth, north and south, is 1200 

Such is the immense continental plateau of Asia, of which our knowl- 
edge is imperfect, as to its population and the grade of civilization they 
fill. We know that from primeval time, periodical swarais of conquering 
barbarians have descended down its flanks and deluged all the continents 
to the seas, convulsing empires and displacing all organized societies. 
These convulsions have extended to the extremities of China, of India, 
of Europe, and into Africa. 

Such is a short and significant memorandum of this plateau, remarkable 
for the high antiquity, the numbers, and the uniform barbarism of its 
populations. It is entirely north of the isothermal temperate zone. 

The Plateau of Syria occupies the space between the Persian and Red 
Seas : the Dead Sea is within it and the peninsula of Arabia : it has no 
large rivers, but is flanked by the Euphrates, the Nile, and the Mediter- 
ranean. It lies across the Isothermal temperate zone from edge to edge. 

Here is the original birthplace and cradle of human history and 
inspired civilization. Down its flanks have descended all the ethereal 
systems of the world, which enter the heart of men and inspire true 
religion, true knowledge, political liberty, and which erect, enlarge, and 
pei-petuate civilized society. Hence have gone forth to the extremities of 
the earth and to the human race throughout all time, the genuine oracles 


of God revealing religion and liberty, to achieve the conquest of idolatry 
and barbarism, and displace them from the hiiman heart. 

Beneath the equator, upon the summit of the Peruvian mountains, is 
the Plateau of the Ancles. Here was the delicate empire and system of 
the Incas, which withered before Pizarro and the Spaniards as a vine 
before the tropical siroc. It contains the Lake of Titicaca, and is without 
large rivers. Of excessive elevation and aridity, small in area, arduous 
of access, and approachable only through torrid heats which surround its 
base and flanks, this Plateau is entirely ivitJwnt the belt of the isothermal 
temperate zone. 

Such are the three other Plateaux. We now approach the fourth — our 
own — the Plateau of North America. 

I have heretofore written of this Plateau : " I speak with great difii- 
dence ; but of all the dejiartments into which science has arranged the 
physical geogi'aphy of the globe, this appears to me the most interesting, 
the most crowded with various and attractive features, and the most cer- 
tainly destined eventually to contain the most powerful and enlightened 
em] ire of the world. 

" At present it is no more known or comprehended, as it is, by the Ameri- 
can people, than was America itself by the poet Homer. It is to them 
as much a myth as was then the continent of Atalanta. Nevertheless, it 
is of such great area as to contain within itself three great rivers which 
rank with the Nile, the Ganges, and the Danube in length, and five great 
ranges of primary mountains." 

The Andes, where it issues from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, divides 
into the two Cordilleras of the north. The one pursues the shores of the 
Mexican Gulf; the other, the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The Cordil- 
leras, continuing to open from one another, run, with great uniformity of 
bulk and altitude, through to the Polar Sea. At the 43d degree of lati- 
tude they are 1400 miles asunder, which is here the breadth of the Plateau. 

The eastern Cordillera is the Sierra IMadre (the IMother Mountain) ; 
the icestern Cordillera is the Sierra Nevada de los Andes (the Snowy 

This, then, the whole Immense area encased within the Cordilleras from 
Tehuantepec to the Polar Sea, is the Plateau of North America ! The 
Cordilleras have a general altitude of 12,000 feet ; the Plateau, of 6000. 
The Plateau is 4000 miles in leng-th, having its direction from southeast 
to northwest ; its superficial area is 2,000,000 square miles. The portion 
within our territories is one-third of the whole country. 

Such, then, are the geographical position, the area, and the altitude of 
the Plateau. Its longitudinal position is remarkable, having it? extremi- 


ties within the equatorial and the polar zones ; but its greatest breadth 
and' area is across the Isothermal temperate zone. Its whole western front 
is closely flanked by the Pacific Ocean ; its eastern front by the Gulf of 
IMexioo and the Calcareous Plain. It erects itself continuously along 
between these, and either connects them together or separates them 

The Plateau has a general configuration, simple as a unit in the physi- 
cal geography of the globe ; the details are infinite and complicated, all 
marked by a grandeur in harmony with its vastness. In the elements 
which attract and perpetuate the social host of civilized men, no other 
region can assert or hold communion with it. It denominates as a stand- 
ard, which can have no equal. 

It is subdivided into seven great basins, which succeed one another in 
order from the south towards the north. The basin of the city of Mexico 
is the^rs^ and most known. A central lake collects the waters of the 
basin, which has no drainage to the sea. 

The second basin is the Bolson de Mapimi. The Laguna de Mapimi 
collects its waters, and is also unconnected with the sea. These basins 
are divided asunder by the Sierra of Queretaro, which connects the Cor- 
dilleras across. 

The third is the basin of the Rio Bravo del Norte, which is divided 
from the second by the transverse mountain chain of the Rio Florida. 
This immense basin is drained by the rivers Del Norte, Pecos, and Conchos, 
which, uniting against the Sierra Madre, gorge it by a caiSon and form 
below the Rio Grande of the Mexican Gulf 

1\\e fourth is the basin of the Colorado. The great Sierra Mimbres 
divides these two basins asunder after the manner of a backbone, from 
which their waters descend down the reverse slopes. They are longitu- 
dinal, parallel, and overlap one another. Distinguished by stupendous vol- 
canic phenomena, they pre-eminently constitute the metalliferous region 
of the world. The confluent rivers of this basin, where they unite to form 
the Colorado, gorge the Andes by the wonderful canon of that name, and 
debouch into the California Gulf 

The fifth is the basin of the Salt Lake, divided from the last by the 
great Sierra Wasatch. Within the vast circuit of its mountain rims, are 
contained many stagnant lakes receiving rivers of fresh water. This basin 
has no outlet to the sea. 

The sixth is the basin of the Columbia. The transverse chain of the 
Snake River Mountains parts these two last basins. Here is seen a most 
wonderful display of natural phenomena. The Snake and Columbia Rivers, 
coming from opposite directions and penetrating immense mountains, unite 


together, gorge the Andes at the Cascades, and debouch into the North 
Pacific Ocean. 

The seventh is the basin of Frazer River. The Olympian chain divides 
it from the Columbia. From hence the Plateau continues its direction 
through a region as yet but little known, and opens out upon the Polar 

If a thread be drawn longitudinally through the Plateau, equidistant 
from the Cordilleras, it will bisect a line of sedimentary lakes restijig as 
in the bottom of a trough. These are the Lake of Mexico, the Laguna, 
Gusman's Lake, the Glreat Salt Lake, the Pend-oreilles and Okanagan 
lakes. These waters have an average elevation of 6000 feet above the 
sea. The whole bulk of the Plateau has then the altitude of a primary 

If the stupendous features of nature are allowed their solemnity of 
impression, and the majestic length and bulk of the Cordilleras be 
admitted, we may now understand what is the immense subdivision of our 
continent encased within them. We may receive and handle it as a unit, 
assign to it a name, " The Plateau" and identify its extent, its distinct- 
ive profile, and position. 

The climate of the Plateau is local and peculiar, but very uniform. The 
Cordilleras, by their altitude and remoteness from the sea, exclude the 
ocean vapors from the Plateau. A rainless atmosphere, perpetually dry, 
tonic, and transparent, is the normal condition throughout the year. Alti- 
tude and aridity united, temper the heat towards the equatorial zone ; the 
same causes temper the cold towards the polar zone. The extremes of 
temperature for the day and for the night are great ; for the seasons of 
the year, scarcely perceptible. In one word, the temperature is uniformly 
vernal. Thus the genial and propitious climate of the isothermal tem- 
perate zone extends up and down the summit of the Plateau, and is felt 
to both extremities ! 

The soils of the Plateau are of the highest order of fertility, alike upon 
the mountains, the valleys, and the mesas or extensive plains. The dry 
and serene atmosphere converts the grasses into hay, and, preserving them 
without decay, perpetuates the food of grazing animals around the year. 
This gives to pastoral agriculture an infinite capacity for production and 
superlative excellence. Meat food, leather, wool, fowls, fish, and dairy 
food are of spontaneous production. 

The soils, accumulated from the attrition and decay of lava and of 
carboniferous and sulphurous limestones, possess an exuberant fertility. 
Spots of arid sands are few and insignificant ; such as exist are from the 
auriferous granite, and contain placers of gold. These soils, then, com- 


posed of tlie essential elements of fertility and production, and warmed 
by an unclouded sun, need only irrigation to ferment their activity. For 
this, nature has provided in the configuration of the surface and the infinite 
abundance of snowy mountains, of streams and of rivers descending from 
their glaciers or bursting from their flanks. 

The descent from the longitudinal crests of the mountain ranges to the 
lowest levels, is everywhere by terraces or steppes arranged against the 
mountain mass. Across these are channeled the gorges of the descend- 
ing waters, coming from the gradually melting snows above. To guide 
these waters out upon these terraces and distribute them over the surface, 
involves neither excessive labor nor intelligence. It is understood and 
practiced by the aboriginal people. 

The laborious systems of culture to provoke germination, the uncertain 
yield common to our people of the maritime region of timber and uncer- 
tain seasons, are here unknown and unnecessary. 

A perpetual sun and systematic irrigation (as in Egypt) dispense with 
laborious manual tillage ; the use of the plow is not indispensable : the 
waters for irrigation descend from a higher level and are constant. The 
laborious extermination of the primeval forest ; fuel and refuge from the 
inclement seasons of heat and cold ; periodical and uncertain inflictions of 
drought and saturation ; dependence upon an atmosphere ever changing 
and forever fickle and treacherous ; none of these vicissitudes are seen or 
known upon the Plateau. 

The adobe brick, of unburned clay, constructs fences and houses, inhabited 
more for domestic seclusion and convenience than from necessity. 

Upon the high mountain flanks, within the influence of constant snow, 
exist abundant forests with the rank summer grasses and vegetation ; the 
proportion of these is ample and harmoniously distributed. The Plateau 
presents itself, therefore, prepared and equipped by nature in all depart- 
ments at every point, and* throughout its whole length, for the immediate 
entrance and occupation of organized society, and the densest population. 
Of this we have an absolute illustration. 

It is where, upon the terraces surrounding the G-reat Salt Lake, three dec- 
ades of years have developed in the wilderness a powerful people, possessing 
in practice all the elements of mature and stable society ; moreover, in the 
ease with which a numerous army has transported and sustained itself, 
without disaster or calamity, at the same remote destination. 

Accessibility on to the Plateau is wonderfully facile and unobstructed 
over a tranquil ocean on the one hand, by the Great Plains on the other. 

Amidst the checkered variety which distinguishes the surface of the 
Plateau, the most systematic order is discernible. The transverse moun- 



tain chains are parallel to one another. They, as well as the great rivers, 
have their courses due north and south, and are longitudinal in direction. 

The only exception is Snake River, and the Snake River chain of 
mountains. They exhibit a stupendous display of volcanic convulsions, 
extending over the basin of the Salt Lake. This is such as to excite the 
conviction that in primeval times the Blue Mountains of Oregon were 
uaperforated, and between them and the Sierra Wasatch flowed a great 
river, discharging into the maritime basin of California. 

If this were so, the harmonious configuration of the Plateau, from end 
to end, would be undeviating. 

The great mountain chains, six in number, enumerated as the Sierra of 
Queretaro, of the Rio Florida, the Sierra Mimbres, the Sierra "Wasatch, 
the Snake River Mountains, and the Olympian chain, all form continuous 
divides across from one Cordillera to the other. They are unperforated 
by any running waters, and block off the area of the Plateau into the 
seven isolated basins above named. 

Other mountain masses, branching from these sierras, protrude far out 
into the basins, are capped with snow, and rival them in bulk and altitude. 
Such are the Sierra La Plata, the Humboldt Mountains, and the Blue 
Mountains of Oregon. Spurs and minor mountain chains appear every- 

The central regions of the basins are occupied by great plains, surround- 
ing the sedimentary lakes, or forming the immense troughs of the rivers; 
the pares are amphitheatres secluded within the sierras, around the sources 
of the great rivers. The most remarkable are the Pare of San Luis, the 
Middle Pare, the South Pass, and the Lava Plain of Snake River. 

Elsewhere the great rivers assault the flanks of the sierras and gorge 
them athwart, traversing them by profound chasms, and foam for hun- 
dreds of miles between perpendicular walls of rock. Such canons are 
seen upon the Rio del Norte, the Colorado, the Snake River, and the 
Columbia, especially where they gorge the Cordilleras to reach the seas. 

Such is the infinite assemblage of mountains, plains, gi-eat rivers, in 
every variety and magnitude, that unite themselves to form the immense 
area of the Plateau of America ! 

The features of its geology are equally various, vast, and wonderful ; 
both mountains and plains promiscuously appear, of carboniferous and 
sulphurou.s limestones, lava, porphyritic granite, columnar basalt, obsidian, 
sandstone, accompanied by their appropriate contents of precious and 
base metals, precious stones, coal, marbles, earth, thermal and medicinal 
streams and fountains ; and all of these adorned by scenery forever vary- 
ing, fascinating, and sublime. 


For agriculture, both pastoral and arable, no region of tlie world is 
more propitious, not even the Basin of the Mississippi, which is by its 
side. One remarkable characteristic pervades all the rivers : their waters 
are supplied (as are those of the Nile) from the high mountains whence 
they descend. ' Such rivulets as abound in maritime countries are not 
known, but subterranean streams burst forth and again disappear. This 
systematic feature at once demonstrates the porous nature of the soils and 
the fertilizing character of the waters. 

To I'evert again to the characteristic climate of the Plateau. It is con- 
tinental as contrasted with the maritime climates of regions open to the 
influences of the oceans and overflowed by their clouds and vapors. 

The Plateau is secluded from the presence of these clouds and vapors 
by the uninterrupted envelope of the Cordilleras, surmounting the line of 
perpetual snow. These clouds and vapors lodge themselves upon the sum- 
mits of the Cordilleras, and of such of the Sierras as have sufiicient alti- 
tude. From these the rivers are fed and descend to traverse the lower 
altitudes, and upon their summits are observable the atmospheric changes 
of maritime countries. 

Out upon the Plateau these changes do not reach. Here the constant 
alternations arising from rain-clouds are not felt. The atmosphere has a 
perpetual venial temperature, unvarying, rainless, transparent, splendid, 
and serene. 

It is along the axis of the isothermal temperate zone of the northern 
hemisphere that revealed civilization makes the circuit of the globe. 
Here, the continents expand ; the oceans contract ; this zone contains the 
zodiac of empires : along its axis, at distances scarcely varying from one 
hundred leagues, appear the great cities of the world, from Pekin, in 
China, to St. Louis, in Amex'ica. 

During antiquity this zodiac was narrow ; it never expanded beyond 
the North African shore, nor beyond the Pontic Sea, the Danube, and 
the Rhine. Along this narrow belt, civilization planted its system from 
Oriental Asia to the western extremity of Europe, with a more or less 
perfect development. IModern times have recently seen it widen, to embrace, 
with an imperfect fire, the region of the Baltic Sea. 

In America, it starts with the broad front from Cuba to Hudson's 
Bay. As in all previous time, it advances along a line central between 
these extremes, in the densest form and with the greatest celerity. Here 
are the chief cities of intelligence and power, and the greatest intensity 
of energy and of progress. 

In 1820, this middle column of the centre had reached the western 
frontier of Missouri, and opened trails along to the Pacific Sea; the 


flanks were then betind, in New York, Lower Canada, and in Georgia. 
In tlie overwhelming revulsion of all previous political precedents, which 
pervaded our Federal councils from 1816 to 1828, central progress was 
forcibly interdicted. Abruptly stopped by an Indian barrier and Draconic 
code, and forced to recoil for forty years, the flanks have come up to an 
even front upon the right and upon the left. 

Science has recently very perfectly established, by observation, this axis 
of the isothermal temperate zone. It reveals to the world this shining 
fact, that along it civilization has traveled, as by an inevitable instinct of 
nature, since creation's dawn. From this line has radiated intelligence of 
mind to the north and to the south, and towards it all people have strug- 
gled to converge. Thus, in harmony with the supreme order of nature, 
is the mind of man instinctively adjusted to the revolutions of the sun 
and tempered by his heat. 

Behold, then, in the geographical position and features of the Plateau 
of America, a crowning mercy and a miraculous light displayed by God 
in our front, to illuminate for us the safe line of march and the whole area 
of expanding empire ! 

The central column of progress has already ascended on to the Plateau by 
the entrance of the South Pass, and established itself on the fertile terraces 
that surround the Great Salt Lake ; it is established in New Mexico, upon 
the Upper Del Norte ; it prepares to enter by the passes of Pike's Peak 
and the Arkansas into the delicious pares that surround the gold region 
of the San Juan ; it is upon the Columbia and Frazer Rivers ; it has also 
passed over the Cordillera of the Andes, and it presents itself fronting to 
the east and entering from California. 

Such is the Plateau of America, transcendent in position, immense in 
area, superlative in climate, fertility, and variety of configuration. 

Here are blended all the elements which distinguish the other plateaux 
of the world. Its longitudinal form ; the rainless character and perennial 
brilliancy of atmosphere ; its perpetual vernal temperature ; its alternate 
basins, pares, and snowy sierras ; its great rivers ; its indefinite and pro- 
pitious capacity to produce and to sustain population ; its gold, metals, 
and gems ; finally, its dominant position, beetling over the Asiatic ocean 
on the one hand, over the Calcareous Plains on the other hand, continu- 
ously from the Polar Sea to the equatorial belt. These all arise succes- 
sively and together to announce to the American people their accession to 
the most attractive, the most wonderful, and the most powerful department 
of their continent, of their country, and of the whole area of the globe. 

But the Plateau has the prestige of antiquity to commend it to favor. 
It was here that Cortez and the conquerors found the gorgeous empire of 


the Montezumas ! a polished people, highly cultivated, numbering many 
millions, and martyrs to their heroic devotion to the arts of peace ! The 
same marked characteristics still show themselves undiminished in the 
existing aboriginal people, thinly scattered to the extreme north ; curious, 
intelligent, and credulous, heroic and timid, vibrating quickly from super- 
stitious veneration to despair. 

They invite and receive the white man as a new divinity, and then 
recoil, to shun him with hate implacable till death. 

This is my understanding of the Plateau of America, condensed to a 
general but a compact view. At my first entrance upon it in 1843, my 
impressions were far otherwise. Everywhere appeared novel phenomena ; 
nature wore an impenetrable complexity of features alternately fantastic, 
sublime, bizarre, and incomprehensible. 

Time, reiterated exploration, study, and meditation, have revealed it to 
me as it is, — in architecture transcendent, in anatomy symmetrical and con- 
sistent in every detail. It is necessary to ponder long before we may pene- 
trate the deep designs of Providence, or be permitted to comprehend the 
austere and perfect order with which nature is everywhere replete. 



To command the gold and silver production of the world, and combine 
this with an intelligent policy, is to rule the world. The present ability 
of the American people to do this, will become manifest so soon as the 
geography of the North American continent shall become correctly under- 
stood by them, and its economical development made a systematic policy. 
A few standard facts in physical geography and geology being currently 
grafted in to guide the popular mind, the ease with which the people of 
America will rise to the pinnacle of power and empire, and the necessity 
incumbent upon them to do so, become both simple and luminous of 

I have in a former chapter defined to itself the " Great Plateau of the 
Table Lands," and enumerated the primary mountain chains, the rivers, 
and the elevated basins (seven in number) which checker its immense area. 
This whole area, together with the great flanking Cordilleras, is of the 
primeval, auriferous formation. Although immense sandstone and cal- 
careous formations are frequent, and elsewhere igneous rocks have over- 
flowed thousands of square miles, these overlay a uniform pediment of 
porphyritie granite, as uniformly yielding gold. 

The primeval gold-bearing formation, therefore, very equally divides the 
area of the continent, half and half, with the calcareous formation, which 
latter abounds with the base metals. Thus, within the present territories 
of the American people, the precious stones and precious metals, platinum, 
gold, silver, quicksilver, exist in the as yet partially developed half, with 
the same abundance and universality of distribution as do the base metals, 
mineral fuel, and calcareous rocks, within the States. 

Investigation within " the great calcareous plain^'' has so far progressed, 
that we trace along its diagonal axis a metalliferous band traversing con- 
tinuously from the neighborhood of Mier, on the Rio Bravo del Norte, to 
the junction of Coppermine River with the Arctic Sea. 

This band, resembling a sword-belt suspended from the shoulder and 
knotted upon the hip, traverses Texas in a direction north-northeast; 
crosses Arkansas and Southern Missouri diagonally ; Northern Illinois, 


Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and, brushing the extreme shores of Lake 
Superior and Hudson's Bay, sinks into the Arctic Sea near the Magnetic 

Everywhere within this band the calcareous rocks and soils are perme- 
ated with veins and native masses of the base metals, existing in a pleni- 
tude and purity suflficient to supply the world forever. What is seen and 
known upon the surface, indicates a systematic order throughout in the 
relative positions of the different metals and their accompanying rocks and 
earths, as also in the localities where each exists in excess and may be 
uaid to culminate. 

Thus in the State of Missouri iron appears protruding above the general 
level, over an immense area, attracting exdusive attention and the appella- 
tion of Iron Mountains, by reason of the immense formation of this metal, 
which displays itself for many hvindred square miles above and below the 
surface, in mass and in position. Copper may likewise be said to culmi- 
nate, where it displays itself around the extreme waters of the St. Law- 
rence, in mass and in position. Thus likewise of lead, where it appears 
in indefinite abundance by itself, in Wisconsin, Missouri, and Arkansas. 

The existence of the base metals of native purity in mass and in posit ion. 
on an immense scale and within the calcareous formation of the basins of 
the Mississipi^i and St. Lawrence, is now become established. The ques- 
tion arises, therefore, vphether there exists within the primeval formation 
any parallel phenomenon, or any possibility of the existence, accessible to 
human research, of the precious stones, of gold, silver, and the kindred 
precious metals, in mass and in position. 

The possibility, and, even more, the prohability of such a development 
resulting from persevering exploration among the sierras of the Plateau 
of the Table Lands, becomes distinct as their geological configuration is 

We have seen, in a former chapter, that the Cordillera of the Sierra 
Madre presents within our territory two remarkable focal culminations, — 
the one grouped around the Wind River Mountain, the other surrounding 
Pike's Peak. These are about four hundred miles apart ; they are con- 
nected by the continuous chain of the Cordillera, as by a curtain. 

Either one, contemplated by itself, fills the same significant place upon 
our continent, as does the Alpine group surrounded by the kingdoms of 
Europe, in the topography of that continent. A parallel altitude, grander 
bulk, larger rivers, the sublimest scenery, a rainless atmosphere, and a 
foundation of broader and more solid dimensions, distinguish our continent. 

To all who ascend the great plains in the neighborhood of the 39th 
degree of latitude, the snow-crested mass of Pike's Peak, 15,000 feet in 


altitude, and seen at a distance of 100 miles from its base, is a prominent 
object. This peak beetles over the plains, protruding out as a promontory 
from tbe Cordillera, with wliicb it is engrafted by an elevated ridge. 

From tbe northern flank of this ridge descend the waters of the South 
Platte, which, first forming the Pare of the Bayou Salado, flow out into 
the plains to the northeast ; from the southern flank descends the Arkan- 
sas, which defiles by a caiion and issues forth into the plains towards the 
southeast. The Cordillera, from whose eastern flanks both of these rivers 
descend, curving towards the east, divides asunder the waters of the two 
great rivers, the Arkansas and the Rio Bravo del Norte. From the west- 
ern bank of the Cordillera, opposite to Pike's Peak, protrudes similarly 
an immense mountain promontory toward the south ; this is the Sierra 
San Juan, the local name given to the northern culmination of the Sierra 

The Sierra Mimbres, departing from the Cordillera under the 39th 
degree of latitude, traverses diagonally athwart the Table Lands, having a 
due southern course. It joins the western Cordillera in the Mexican State 
of Durango, in latitude 23° 30'. Its course coincides with the 109th 
meridian. It is 1200 miles in length. It is a continuous mountain mass, 
dividing the Rio Bravo del Norte from the great Rio Colorado. The 
immense basins of these rivers rest against it as a backbone. 

The Sierra Mimbres is a mountain chain of the first order in length, 
massiveness, and altitude. It is entirely within the area of the Plateau of 
the Table Lands. It abounds in volcanic phenomena and pedrigals of 
lava. Its eastei-n bank is scored by caiions descending to the Del Norte ; 
its western flank, by the affluents of the Colorado. The variety and gran- 
deur of its geological features and metalliferous qualities surpass all other 
mountains. It produces the precious stones. 

Within the States of Chihu.ahua and Durango its flanks are mined for 
silver, and contain twenty-one known deposits of that metal, which for 
three centuries have supplied the silver and silver coin to the world. But 
the labors of the Spaniards have not penetrated beyond the Grila River. 
It is the portion north of this river and within our territories which is 
most interesting. 

Throughout the whole system of the Andes, it is upon the plateaux 
and high mountain flanks that mining is profitably pursued. Such is the 
fact in Chili, Peru, Brazil, and Mexico. It is upon the Plateau of the 
Table Lands within our territories that the metallic resources chiefiy 

The whole system, then, of primeval mountains, occupying the western 
half of the New World, is uniformly auriferous. It is where the mountain 


summit spreads out to embrace the prodigious expanse of the three con- 
tiguous mountain basins of the Del Norte, Colorado, and Salt Lake, that 
the internal volcanic powers of the globe exhibit their effects upon the 
most stupendous scale. 

From this pediment, having an altitude of 7000 feet, rise the two bisect- 
ing mountain chains of the plateau, the Sierra Mimbres and the Sierra 
Wasatch, by which it is subdivided into these three specified elevated 
basins. This immense expanse of continent, presenting a uniform mass 
of the elevated auriferous rocks, places the equally grand abundance of 
the precious metals beyond conjecture and above doubt. 

But the Rio Colorado gathers into its one channel the large rivers 
within its basin, namely, the Rio Verde, the Rio Grande of the West, the 
Eagle, Dolores, and San Juan Rivers. It launches its whole force against 
the interior flank of the western Cordillera, perforates this Cordillera by a 
caiion, tunnelled diagonally for 557 miles through the very roots of the 
mountain mass, and reaches the ocean at the head of the Gulf of California. 

It is this solitary fact in physical geography, new to human research, and 
of transcendent interest, that here arrests and fixes the attention of every 
mind. The dorsal mass of the Andes, thus perforated through from base 
to base, and athwart its course, by a river of the first magnitude, is formed, 
to its snowy summit, of the upheaved auriferous and igneous rocks ! 

Nowhere else throughout the globe has nature waged so stern a conflict, 
nor are similar phenomena elsewhere seen. Upon the other continents, 
great rivers are seen descending from the flanks of primeval mountains, 
and gorging their outflanking spurs ; here only is this universal law of 
nature defied, and the arcana of the inner world revealed, surrounded by 
details of the austerest sublimity. 

Such is one of the stupendous novelties of our own mountain forma- 
tion, which arrests the attention and summons the enthusiasm of science 
and the energetic ambition of our people. Nature here abounds in a 
vast variety of formations, each upon the same miraculous scale, and all 

Volcanoes, whose flames and eruptions appear to have ceased but yes- 
terday ; immense plains of selenife, fringed with fantastic mountains, 
called cristones (pendent cockscombs) ; mesas, surmounted by prairie 
plains of wonderful fertility ; vast regions of forest upon the irrigated 
mountain flanks ; crests of perennial snows ; pares of secluded and 
romantic beauty, having a perpetual verdure, and the temperature of per- 
petual spring ; canons, incaged by perpendicular mountain walls of roseate 
sandstone, wrought by corrosion into every form of sculpture ; mountains 
permeated with broad veins of gold and silver ; others having emeralds 


and the ruby ; quicksilver is known to gusli forth and deposit its globules 
in the rough meadows, called " sieniiekas." 

Thermal streams of all varieties of sanatory waters burst, as subterra- 
nean rivers, from beneath the overhanging peaks and mesas ; mountains 
of porphyry and of rock salt are numerous ; vast mountain chains of car- 
boniferous limestone, changing through all varieties of the richest marbles ; 
iron is found in mountain masses ; copper is scarcely less abundant. 

Petrifactions, obsidian, carnelians, agates, and chalcedony pave immense 
regions. Fuel of coal develops itself in beds of unrivalled extent, depth, 
and compactness ; caves sparkling with transparent frescoes of crystallized 

An abundant flora of the most delicate forms, colors, and fragrance ; a 
perennial pasturage, overrunning the mountain flanks and summits, on 
which millions of aboriginal cattle subsist round the year, as fish within 
the sea ; a fat fertility in the soil, at once uniform and universal ; rivers, 
streams, and fountains, absolutely infinite in number and of miraculous 
convenience and distribution. 

Over all this nether world, so checkered with a gorgeous variety of 
forms and productions, both upon the surface and beneath, floats the aerial 
atmosphere, shining with a perpetual splendor unknown in regions of less 
altitude and less remoteness from the sea. Dry, tonic, and exhilarating 
to the taste, infused with the direct solar warmth, filtered through the 
ether that surmounts the atmospheric vapors, the embalming atmosphere 
ti' ts all nature with a silvery splendor, constantly shining, and constantly 
st ene. 

The nights have an opposite, penetrating coolness when the solar rays 
are withdrawn and his direct beams are quenched ; the canopy of resplen- 
dent stars has a parallel sublimity with the day ; the transparency of the 
atmosphere and its serenity are the same. 

Electric storms, short in duration and at long intervals, periodically 
renew the irrigating snows upon the mountains, refresh the air, temper its 
dryness, and restore the rivers. 

Why these basins and sierras of the Plateau should be especially metal- 
liferous, becomes evident by reference to a few radical principles of geo- 
logical research. If quicksilver, water, oil, and alcohol be poured into a 
hollow pillar of glass, these liquids will subside, according to their specific 
gravities, into layers in the above order. If gold, iron, wood, and feathers 
be thrown in, they will similarly sink, the gold to the bottom, the iron to 
the quicksilver, the wood to the water, the feathers to the oil. 

If this column becomes solid by congelation, the same arrangement will 
remain, the gold being sedimentary to all, the iron beneath the stratum 


of frozen water, the wood beneath the oil. Everybody is familiar with 
the manufacture of shot ; each globule of liquid lead precipitated through 
the air is formed, by gravity, into a sphere. 

The globe of the earth, 8000 miles in diameter, is similarly formed, the 
congealing substances arranging themselves, as the shells of an onion, from 
the centre outward, according to their several specific gravities. 

I have often boiled rice in an open camp-kettle, when traversing the 
mountains and my daily march was done ; the rice finally subsides in 
maei to the bottom, but the water remains of a milky whiteness. This 
whiteness is caused by minute, buoyant particles of rice, of altered specific 
gravity, suspended throughout the water ; congelation into ice fixes in 
solid form both the mass beneath and the suspended particles. 

This homespun illustration makes clear the cause of the diffusion of 
grain-gold throughout the auriferous rocks. To be found in mass and in 
position, it must be sought sedimentary, beneath these rocks. All that 
we have as yet found is granular, in scales or minute lumps, set free from 
the upper rocks by disintegration or corrosion, and descending the moun- 
tain flanks with the sands abraded by the torrents. 

But we have seen that the Cordilleras and the Sierras of the Plateau 
are formed of the auriferous rocks broken from their horizontal beds and 
the edges vertically upheaved some two or three miles in altitude ; more- 
over, the Cordillera of the Andes is gorged athwart its roots by the canon 
of the Rio Colorado. Is it not, then, possible — even probable — ^that 
sufiicient exploration may here reveal to the miner the precious metals 
in viass and in position ? 

The scientific writers of our country adhere with unanimity to the dog- 
matic location somewhere of " a great North American desert.'' Trav- 
ellers, under their promptings, especially search for it. It has been located 
seriatim in advance of the settlements, in Kentucky, in the Northwest, 
in Missouri, upon the Plains, in California. No explorer or witness who 
has failed to find a desert is allowed credence or feme. 

Yet there is none, either in North or South America ; nor is the exist- 
ence of one possible. On the contrary, the least fertile portion of our con- 
tinent is the silicious maritime slope of the Atlantic States, whose climate 
is also the most inhospitable. Yet here is no desert, and none anywhere 
else exists. This dogmatic mirage has lately receded from the basin of 
the Salt Lake ; it is about to be expelled from its last resting-place, the 
basin of the Colorado. 

The anatomy of a dwarf or an infant is identical with the anatomy of a 
giant. The details and relative proportions are the same. Habituated to 
a common medium standard, it is the size which is marvellous to us. 



Our senses are bewildered by the novelty ; our judgments wander — ^but 
the object seen is a reality. 

To antiquity — even to the modern day of Columbus — the Atlantic 
Ocean was a mysterious abyss, an impenetrable Tartarus. By degrees the 
field of the eye expands, the mind dilates, fact by fact is surmounted, as 
an acclivity is made easy by a stairway. The mirage is dissolved, the 
higher standard is reached, grows familiar, is approved, and is firmly 

It is to European minds that we owe the as yet elementary sciences of 
physical geography and geology. The founders of these sciences have 
reared them by hiving the slowly-developed details of nature, collected by 
exhausting patience within the small basins surrounding the cities of their 

Thus, within the small basins of the Thames, the Seine, the Arno ; 
upon the flanks of the Alps, the Apennines ; in Calabria, and around 
Fingal's Cave, have heretofore been found the most popular illustrations 
to nurse the infancy of these sciences. 

More than sixty years of intense meditation has inspired the cosmo- 
politan genius of Humboldt to scan the terrestrial globe with an expanded 
vision. He only has spoken worthily of America to her own people. In 
him we recognize the intrepid pioneer who invites us to understand the 
gigantic proportions of our own great country, its order, its symmetry, and 
its grand simplicity of configuration. 

As Columbus led forth navigation and commerce, from its lengthened 
tutelage in the Mediterranean Sea, to expand itself over all the oceans and 
to every continental and every island shore ; so now, this venerable pioneer 
of physical science and the arts, marshals us on to penetrate the arcana 
of the land, to fit society to the broad foundation of the continents, and 
rear a comity of civilization coequal with the globe. 

It is in Europe that Columbus and Humboldt have had their nativity 
and their residence. It is for America that they have lived ; to us they 
belong ; . apostolic citizens of our destiny ! 

The area of the department of the Plateau of the Table Land^ embracing 
the three elevated basins of the Salt Lake, the Colorado, and the Eio Bravo 
del Norte, is equivalent to France, Austria, Switzerland, and Cisalpine 
Italy combined ; its rivers are equal to the Danube, Rhine, Rhone, and 
Po ; its metalliferous mountains are pre-eminent in bulk, number, and 

In readiness to receive and ability to sustain in perpetuity a dense 
population, it is more favored than Europe. Fertility of soil of the high- 
est order is the dominant and uniform characteristic of this immense 


region. The mountains are rarely abrupt or i-ugged. They arc sur- 
mounted by mesas, descending by gigantic terraces called mesiUas. The 
densely crystalline primeval rocks yield but slightly to atmospheric corro- 
sion in the regularity of a continental climate and seclusion from the sea. 
It is the decay of lava, selenite, and carboniferous limestone that forms the 

The pastoral fertility is developed by nature, which sustains its aborigi- 
nal herds as fish in the rivers and in the sea. The arable fertility needs 
the care of man, and awaits the economical development of artificial irri- 
gation. For the reception of this system, the whole structure and contour 
of the surface is fitted, and the natural waters alDundant. / 

Reflection will recall to memory the magnificent empires of people, 
possessing a highly-advanced, but imperfectly-organized, civilization, 
found established along the summit of this Plateau, conquered by Corte^, 
Alyarado, and Pizarro. On the summit of the Southern Andes, in 
Chili, Peru, and around Quito, on the Northern Andes, in Central 
America, and Mexico, dwelt twenty millions of population in the aggregate. 

Three centuries of subjugation have dwarfed this aboriginal people to 
one-half of their original numbers, and radically altered their religion, 
their language, and traditional manners. They have touched the lowest 
point of decadence, from which they will again slowly ascend. 

This people had no fixed science in physics, religion, or politics, to prop 
and protect their system from the shocks of time ; no navigation, no prin- 
ciple of perpetuity. These have now come to them with the European 
column, bringing with it the ark of regeneration. The peculiar agricul- 
tural and social system of the Mexicans under the Montezumas, extended 
up the basin of the Rio Bravo del Norte to the base of the Sierra San 
Juan. Our people are marching to the same point from an opposite liiec- 
tion, bringing with them the social habits of the isothermal zone and a 
maritime climate. 

I have spoken of this remarkable focal culmination of the Eastern Cor- 
dillera, from which two snowy promontories protrude, back to back ; Pike's 
Peak to the northeast beetles over and subsides into the Plains ; the 
Sierra San Juan, to the south, beetles over the Plateau, and subsides into 
the Sierra Mimbrcs. 

Radiant mountains and streams diverge from this point in every direc- 
tion, and form abundant passes, direct and practicable, to and fro, between ' 
the basin of the Mississippi and the Plateau. The three remarkable pares 
— the Middle Pare, the Bayou Salado, and the Bayou San Luis — all 
approach close together the dividing crest of the Eastern Cordillera, over 
whose summit they immediately communicate. 


I know not how adequately to delineate this knotted gi-oitp of all the 
colossal elements of nature. To submit the vinembellished facts is all that 
is necessary, were this possible, where the elements in compact contiguity 
are so many, so varied, and each of such colossal graudeur. To exag- 
gerate is far from my intention ; to enumerate the details of nature, as I 
have seen them, with austere simplicity, is my aim. 

Behold, then, to the right, the Mississippi Basin ; to the left, the Plateau 
of the Table Lands ; beneath, the family of Pares ; around, the radiating 
backs of the primeval mountains ; the primary rivers, starting to the seas ; 
a xmiform elevation of 8000 feet ; a translucent atmosphere, a thousand 
miles removed from the ocean and its influences ; a checkered landscape, 
in which no element of sublimity is left out ; fertility and food upon the 
surface ; metals beneath ; uninterrupted facility of transit ! 

Behold the sublime panorama which crowns the middle region of our 
Union, fans the fire of patriotism, and beckons on the energetic host of 
our people. The American people number fifty millions in strength. Two 
millions change annually their place of residence. The oracular instinct 
of conquest burns in every heart ; this is the continental mission of '76, 
proclaimed from the traditions of Jamestown and of Plymouth Rock, and 
thence bec|ueathed to posterity ! 

The column of pioneers (engaged during several years in planting the 
State of the Kansas basin)„has passed over the rim of the Calcareous Plain, 
and debouched upon the base of the primeval mountains. Gold has been 
found at the first trial and upon the threshold at Cherry Creek, upon the 
eastern flank of Pike's Peak, and elsewhere. A few seasons have sufficed for 
them to ascend, by the Arkansas and the Bayoii Salado, to the mother 
crest of the Cordillera, whence the basins and sierras of the Plateau 
expand beyond : 

" The clouds above us to the white Alps tend, 

And we must pierce them, and survey whate'er 
May be permitted : as our steps we bend 

To that most great and growing region, where 

The earth to her embrace compels the powers of air." 

Let us here pause to reflect whether the traditional history of our race 
does not. on its very front, illustrate what prominence awaits this longt- 
tiidincd Plateau of our continent, descending thus by terraces into the 
Mississippi Basin on the east, to the Pacific Ocean on the west ! 

The existence of the empires of Montezuma and the Incas exhibits 
upon these Table Lands the only examples where our aboriginal people 
rose above an absolute barbarism elsewhere, upon the lowlands, as univerea] 
and as level as the waters of the sea. 


All around the head of the IMediterraueaii Sea, where it penetrates the 
Asiatic continent, its basin is encircled by a plateau, or amphitheatre of 
elevated plains extending round from Suez, continuously through Syria, 
Asia IMinor, and into Greece. This descends by terraces to the sea-shore. 
Upon this Plateau have been, among others, the cities of Babylon, Pal- 
myra, and Damascus ; upon the slopes to the sea, Alexandria, Tyre, Jeru- 
salem, Tarsus, Byzantium, and Athens ! 

What cardinal element have we, in the immense mental system of our 
civilization, which has not come to us and with us from thence? Hence 
(from this Plateau of Syria) have resounded through all time and into 
every heart, the direct oral teachings of Jehovah and of Jesus : hence 
have issued forth the miraculous alphabet and the immerals : hence have 
come the cereals and animals of our agriculture, wine, and fruits : hence 
our religion, law, social manners, history, music, poetry, and arts : from 
hence, as from the cradle of nativity, have issued forth for our inheritance, 
to abide with us forever, " the unconquerable mind and freedom's holy 
flame !" 

Everybody is acquainted with the Gulf Stream of the Atlantic Ocean. 
This colossal stream, recoiling round the circular sea of the tropics, and 
receiving the oozy sediment of the Amazon, the Orinoco, the Magdalena, 
and the Mississippi, launches out into the middle ocean. Its silent current 
rolls the tepid waters and sandy debris of two continents a thousand 
leagues along the bottom of the ocean : it banks them up upon the margin 
of the Northern Sea, to form the submerged continent of Newfoundland, 
and the telcgrapliic plateau. 

Similarly has flowed, for fifty centuries, along the isothermal axis, the 
human current, which bears with it the immortal fire of civilization 
revealed to man. This central current has reached the Plateau of America, 
up which it will ascend to plant the sacred fires over its expanse and 
shine upon the woi'ld with renewed efi'ulgence. Such is the resplendent 
era and the gorgeous promise unveiled to humanity. The arrival of this 
is noio announced by the indefinite gold production and pastoral power of 
the interior, domestic region of our continent and country. 



From tlie pi-eyious cliaptei-s. it -will be pei-ceived that one wlio travels 
from Paris to Pekin. by the direct route of New York, Kansas City, and 
San Francisco, traverses these physical divisions : 1st. The Atlantic Ocean. 
2d. The Atlantic Maritime Slope. 3d. The Alleghany Mountains. 4th. 
The Basin of the 3Iississippi. 5th. The Cordillera of the Sierra Madre. 
6th. The Plateau of the Table Lands. 7th. The Cordillera of the Snowy 
Andes. 8th. The Pacific Maritime Slope. 9th. The Pacific Ocean. 

This route brings into immediate juxtaposition, along tlie isothermal 
axis, the great penoianent reservoirs of human population and activity — 
Western Europe, America, and Oriental Asia. 

If it be practicable to accommodate all the international transportation 
of the three continents by this route, a prodigious condensation of economy 
in the interchanges of the products and people of the world will be accom- 
plished at a blow. 

The distance of transit will be reduced from the circumference of the 
globe to the length of its diameter — tJte time to one-tenth. Steam b}' sea and 
land will form an uninterrupted trip by two ocean ferries, connected by a 
transit railway. Thus will be solved the geogi'aphical problem which has 
agitated the world before and since Columbus. 

Practical experiment has long since exhausted all discussion as to the 
passage of the two oceans by steamers, and of the American continent by 
railway, so far as the Atlantic Maritime Slope, the Alleghany, the Basin 
of the Mississippi, up to the wall of the Cordillera of the Sierra Madre, 
and the Pacific Maritime Slope, are concerned. Serious arguments of any 
diflaculties within these divisions of the whole distance hiive been long 
settled and have ceased. 

All that remained enigmatical to the public mind, and unresolved, when 
these notes were first penned, was the interval occupied by the Cordillera 
of the Sierra Madre, the Plateau of the Table Lands, and the Cordillera 
of the Sierm Nevada, which conjointly form the '' mountain formation of 
Xorth America,'' extending continuously from Tehuantepec to the Arctic 



llow this complicated barrier of immense mountains, 1000 miles in 
breadth, is to be surmounted, has obtained its illustration by the estab- 
lishment of the Mormons in Utah, and the military expedition sent against 
them. It is by the South Pass, which is the gateway of the American 
people and their commerce to x\sia, as has been the Strait of Gibraltar 
that of exit out into the Atlantic, to the nations of the 3Iediterranean, 
now and in all ages past. 

There exists between the Basins of the Mediterranean and of the Mis- 
siifsijypi, a perfect identity in position, physical characteristics, historical 
prestige, and social concord. A comparison of the one with the other will 
furnish a luminous illustration, to explain the present generation of the 
American people to itself, and to guide all future generations. 

The area in square miles of these two basins is the same. Four-fifths 
of the surface of the forme)- is occupied by the salt-water expanse of the 
Pontic, Propontic, Adriatic, and Mediterranean Seas, into which flow the 
Danube, the Nile, the Po, and the Rhone, rivers having narrow valleys and 
imperfect navigation. Protruding out between these seas are the penin- 
sulas t)f Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, Spain, and the African coiist, all filled 
full with mountain vertebme, rugged and poorly adapted to agriculture. 

The sea surface is stormy and dangerous to navigation : the rivers are 
short and deficient in channel : the shores are impracticable to land except 
where harbors are constructed ; and the inhabitable lands arranged in 
rugged and isolated masses. 

Yet, from the first pioneer voyage of Hercules down the Mediterranean, 
to the Pillars which still immortalize his energies, to the present age, there 
has existed a certain imperfect compact in the political, social, religious, 
and commercial relations of the people of the Mediterranean. 

The vestal fire of civilization has never been entirely quenched. It 
has spread out to illuminate the whole area, both under the political sys- 
tem of the Roman Empire and the religious system of the Roman Church. 
It has overrun the brim, and is inherited by the modern European nations 
who are the dispersed progeny of Rome. 

The " Basin of the Mississippi" fills more perfectly the temperate zone. 
The counterpart of the salt-water surface is a delicious, undulating plane, 
everywhere channelled by rivers navigable to their very sources : navigation 
is everywhere as safe and constant as upon a canal ; the line of accessible 
shore is in length absolutely infinite ; the soil is uniformly calcTeous, 
arable, of inexhaustible fertility, and sufficiently irrigated from the clouds ; 
no mountain, no sheet of water, no swamp is anywhere found to break the 
uniform productiveness of this immense expanse ; no rapids to interrupt 
the universal navimxtion of the rivers. 


Europe is bisected by a broad mountain cbain traversing it continuously, 
east and west^ from Gibraltar to Siberia, under the names of the Pyrenees, 
Alps, Carpathians, and called by the Romans " divortia aquaruwJ^ (the 
divide of waters). What, therefore, is outside of the Basin of the Medi- 
terranean is, for the most part, in the inhospitable " Basin of the Baltic," 
its climate and general features not unlike Labrador. 

All along Xhenortliern front oi ihe " Mississippi Basin," ezpand beyond 
an imperceptible barrier, the " Basins of the St. Lawrence and Sas- 
katchewan," similarly calcareous, similarly abounding in navigation, and 
only moderately inferior to it in fertility, in geniality of climate, and iu 

The surface, then, of the European Basin is salt-water and mountains. 
That of the American Basin a plain of calcareous, arable soil. The former 
has a maritime climate, the latter a continental climate, superior in dryness 
and salubrity. The former has a restricted and dangerous, the latter an 
abundant and safe, navigation. In land-transportation the contrast is still 
more strikingly diverse and favorable to the American Basin. 

The Basin of the Mediterranean, under the rule of the Boman Emperor 
Trajan, attained a population of one Imndred and thirty-one millions. 
This was then chiefly congregated in the eastern half; it is now in the 
western half, in which direction the pressure always preponderates. 

At present the Basin of the Mississippi contains eighteen millions of 
inhabitants. It will conveniently sustain eighteen hundred millions. This 
is noiv an immense empire. Comparisons drawn from history or existing 
empires, are very feeble illustrations of what is to grow up on this already 
radicated foundation. 

AU the features of nature, all the principles of progress, social and 
political, are here original. This undulating plain, uniformly and uni- 
versally calcareous ; this circular configuration, running flush out to the 
repelling lines of the Arctic and Torrid Zones ; this miraculously-bal- 
anced variety of temperature, climate, prairie, forest, land, rivers, rain, 
and sunshine, minerals and contiguous expanses — noio arable and now 
pastoral — all these constitute an original order of physical facts, simple 
and symmetrical, but sublime. 

The rising of consecutive States out of the wilderness, erected by spon- 
taneous industry ; the unabating deluge of men daily pouring forth and 
daily pushed onward by the hand of Grod ; the rushing march of empire ; 
the profound internal order and systematic economy which pervades and 
guides this mass, more numerous than many armies ; the instinct of dis- 
cipline and self-government everywhere felt and always obeyed ; no cen- 
tral military or religious power anywhere seen — all these array themselves 


to announce the presence of principles and power intensely ori(jinal and 
intensely potential in social and political influences. 

Memory will suggest how slow and narrow, until quite modern times, 
has been the column of organized civilization on the old continent. The 
whole African coast of the Mediterranean is socially semi-barbarous, and 
has been so uniformly since the deluge. Upon and beyond the Danube 
its permanence is quite recent and its light still crepuscular. 

Contrast the elements of society and their history, filling the face of 
Europe from Gibraltar to Norway, with that of America from Cuba to 
Hudson's Bay, both fronting to the west ! In the former appear distract- 
ing nationalities, domestic force and fraud, no systematic union, no moral 
harmony, no uniformity of races, no intelligent concord in religions. In 
the latter is a compact front, where all these elements reversed ai-e blended 
in civic concord, fired by a common hope, inspired by one destiny, and 
having one God, one heart, one aim, and one supreme ambition. 

Such are the characteristics of the two basins, contrasted the one with 
the other. They both slope to the Atlantic Ocean, and are fiice to face. 
In the mythological history of Hercules we read the first intelligent record 
of that struggle for dominance over the Mediterranean, and a system hold- 
ing its elements in harmony, which has been ever since a drama of unin- 
terrupted acts. 

In this drama appear the tragic sieges of Troy, Tyre, Athens, Carthage, 
Alexandria, Byzantium, Rome, Rhodes, Gibraltar, Malta, and Sebastopol; 
among a thousand combats by sea and land the naval victories of Salamis, 
Actium, Lepanto, Aboukir, and Trafalgar. 

From history, which is the narrative of this struggle of four thousand 
years, is apparent the perpetual incubation of military brute force always 
in the majority ; civic virtue and municipal independence as uniformly in 
the minority, checkered by heroic resistance and perpetual ly-recui ring 

It has been the design of the American continental republic, from its 
first colonial origin, to reverse this doom ; to elevate civic concord to the 
administration of political power ; to sustain it there ; to dispense with 
the whole scheme of military despotism without respect to its antiquity, 
its arrogance, or the heretofore universal success of its subtle union of 
hypocrisy and force ; to inaugurate for mankind a code of political prac- 
tice, which shall bring the science of government into accord with the 
divine code of morals and religion, cradled 1873 years ago in the manger 
of the stable of Bethlehem ! 

This mission of civic empire has for its oracular principle the physical 
characteristics and configuration of our continent, wherein the Basin of 


tlie Mississijpjpi predominates as supremely as the sun among the 

The Basin of the jMediterranean is, then, a surface of harren sea, with 
mountain masses, imperfectly fitted for population, protruding above it ; 
that of the Mississippi is a calcareous plain of land, everywhere interlaced 
and ramified with navigable arteries. Both are traversed centrally by the 
zodiac of empires within which the current of civilization has flowed in 
all agesyro?Ji east to icest. 

This current, descending the Mediterranean, and drawn in by the con- 
verging continents of Europe and Africa, pours forth its whole concentrated 
volume through the supreme pass known now and in all ages as the 
"Pillars of Hercules." 

What is accomplished by this convergence of the continents of the Old 
World, in reducing all the outlets of navigation, and consequently of all 
commerce, to the single Pass of Hercules, is accomplished for our conti- 
nent by the "Mountain Formation." This is the South Pass of North 
America, the exact equivalent single pass, in our continent of ?«»(7-basins, 
to the wnYer-pass of Gibraltar among the water-basins of the Eastern 
hemisphere. The latitude is 42° 24', the longitude 109° 26'. This is 
the same latitude as Boston, Bayonne, and Marseilles, in France, and of 
Trieste and Constantinople. 

To delineate the features of the Soitth Pass, so that the topography of 
the plain, the prodigious sierras which surround it, the rivers radiating 
out of it, and the gorges by which they commence their gentle declina- 
tions to the seas, may all be grouped in one glance, as a portrait in daguer- 
reotype, is not easy to be done. 

The plain is elevated 7500 feet above the sea ; it is beyond or icest of 
the Cordillera ; its surface of clay is so absolutely smooth as to admit 
of uninterrupted vision, as over water ; it is in shape a triangle, having 
very acute angles at the northern and southern points, and one very obtuse 
at the source of Sweetwater, which is the eastern point. 

The western side, 200 miles in length, corresponds with the bed of the 
Bio Verde (Green Biver), running directly from north to south, to which 
the whole plain slants. Immediately along its western bank rises the 
Sierra Wasatch, forming a continuous mountain barrier towards the west; 
opposite the centre of this hypothenuse is the gorge of Sweetwater, envel- 
oping the eastern point of the triangle ; the remaining sides extend hence, 
the one to the northwest, the other to the southwest. 

* The North American Continent is in form a sublime amphitheatre, being concave 
in configuration. All the other continents are convex. 


Along the former, in length 109 miles, rises the stupendous mass of 
the Cordillera, known here locally as the " Wind Hiver Mountain." Along 
the latter a similar mass of the Cordillera, but of inferior altitude, known 
locally as the " Table Mountain." 

The area of the Plain of the South Pass is about equivalent to that of 
New Jersey. Its surface is of clay, resembling kaoliue, of which porce- 
lain is made, and has the absolute smoothness of that material filtered 
through water and compacted by pressure. 

From the three angles of its rim issue the Sweetwater, flowing east into 
the Platte and to the Atlantic ; the Snake River, flowing nortliweat to 
Walla-Walla, and thence with the Columbia to the North Pacific ; and 
the Rio A^'erde, south into the Bay of California; by whose western 
afiluent also. Black Fork, exists the easiest egress into the Basin of the 
Great Salt Lake. 

Most probably no spot on the globe has grouped into one view so much 
of intense grandeur in the variety and number of its physical wonders. 
From a single ice-crowned summit of the Wind River Mountain are seen 
the gorges of the Missouri, Yellowstone, Platte, Colorado, and Snake 
Rivers, all radiating from its base, and each the equal of the Danube in 
length and the volume of its waters. 

Five primary chains of snowy mountains here culminate together to 
this central apex, from which they radiate out between the rivers ; the 
dorsal mass of the Cordillera reaching towards the north to the iVrctic Sea, 
and towards the south to the Antarctic ; the Sierra Wasatch, the Snake 
River chain, the Salmon River Mountains, all crested with snow, and each 
having an unbroken length of 1000 miles. 

The South Pass is 1-400 miles from Astoria. It is the same distance 
from St. Louis. It is, then, in the middle region of the continent. It is 
the only single pass through the " IMountain Formation" from hence as far 
as the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. From this comes the name South Pass, 
as being the most southern pass to which you may ascend by an afiluent 
of the Atlantic, and step immediately on to a stream descending uninter- 
ruptedly out to the Pacific. 

This name is as ancient as the Pass itself. Into it concentrate the great 
trails of the buffalo — geographers and road-makers before the coming of 
man. The Indian, the Mexican, and the American, successors to one 
another, have not deflected from the instincts of the bufiiilo, nor will they, 
whilst the iH'imeval mountains last in their present unshattered bulk. 

Thii is the continental highway of the people, through which millions 
have already poured to and fro with their children, their free principles, 
their cattle — assembled in caravans, on foot, and mounted — with wagons, 


liand-carts, knapsacks, and bringing witli tliem tlieir household gods, and 
the tabernacle of civil and religious liberty. 

The South Pass is par excellence the continental pass. The outlet at 
the eastern angle is known as the gorge of the Sweetwater River, which 
descends to the Platte ; that at the northern angle as the gorge of Gros- 
ventre River, which descends to the Snake River. These are both short 
and slender mountain streams, accomplishing their descent in beds of the 
extremest sinuosity, but without abrupt waterfalls. They both flow from 
chasms in the flanks of the immense mass of the Wind River Mountain, 
which here forms an arc fronting to the west, and issue out upon the 

But the plain is traversed by a gentle divide^ parallel with the mountain 
base, and no more distinguishable than the bevel given by engineers to 
any ordinary street. Against this these two streams are deflected into 
opposite courses, the former to burrow its way around the arc of the moun- 
tain to the southeast^ the other towards the northwest. 

Tq one who observes this from the plain, there is presented a similar 
miraculous configuration of the land, such as displays itself to one who, 
navigating the Propontic Sea, beholds the Dardanelles upon his right 
hand and the Bosphorus on his left. Moreover, the sky is without clouds 
and rainless, the atmosphere intensely brilliant, temperate, and serene, 
encompassed round by scenery of the austerest sublimity. 

But we have seen that the elevation of the South Pass is 7500 feet, 
and that Snake River runs continuousli/ out of it by the most direct and 
favorable course, of 1400 miles, to the Pacific Sea, tunnelling consecu- 
tively the Blue or Salmon River range of mountains, the western Cordil- 
lera, and all other transverse ranges and obstructions. 

Here is, then, an uninterrupted water declination through and across the 
whole '■'■viountain formation,'' descending by a plane di^T^ing five feet to 
the mile ! 

From the adjacent eastern rim of the Plain of the South Pass runs out 
Sweetwater into the Platte, which, tunnelling consecutively all the out- 
lying ranges of the eastern Cordillera, forms a similar uninterrupted water 
declination, in a very straight line of 1400 miles to St. Louis, descending 
by the same average dip of five feet per mile. 

Everybody is familiar with the existing railways, which, radiating from 
St. Louis and pursuing continuously the plains of the Ohio and St. Law- 
rence, outflank the Alleghanies between Syracuse and Rome, and descend 
by the Hudson River to New York. 

The sciences which delineate and explain to the human understanding 
the details oi' matter, as it fits itself in myriads of millions of variegated 


forms to fill out the supreme order of the universe, develop nothing so 
interesting to the heart of civilized man as this single sublime fact of 
physical geography in the supreme engineering of the Creator. 

This line of gently-undulating river-grades girdles the middle zone of 
our Union from sea to sea, in one smooth, continuous and unbroken cord, 
3G00 miles in length. It fits the isothermal axis of the temperate climates, 
crossing one river only at St. Louis, and outflanking all the mountains. 
It presents to us the counterpart of that water-line of the Old World, com- 
mencing at the extremity of the Euxine, passing down the Mediterranean, 
and debouching out into the ocean. 

From the South Pass to Mexico the primary mountain chains spread 
out. They, together with the great rivers which divide them, are longi- 
tudinal, parallel, and imperforated. The rivers grow deeper as they 
approach the sea, increasing the altitude and abruptness of the mountain 
flanks, which overlap one another, and increase and complicate the mural 

Nowhere, within this interval, are the mountains reduced to a single 
dividing barrier, nor are there presented anywhere the essentials of a single 
pass. Nowhere is to be found a sufficient depression in the mountain 
crest, and a continuous gradation from the summits-crest, prolonged to the 
east and to the west, down both declinations to the seas. 

The South Pass is elevated 7500 feet above the seas, from which it is 
some 1500 miles i-emote. It has, then, a continental climate, whose 
atmosphere is tempered by th6 altitude and by the absence of moisture. 
Hence an intense serenity is the prominent feature, perpetual sunshine, a 
tonic and salubrious air, a vernal temperature. 

Along the continental line the changes from the continental to the mari- 
time climate, and vice versa, graduate themselves with the same delicate 
scale as the surface slopes. Uniformity of climate, from sea to sea, is then 
so nearly approached, that it actually exists all along this line in absolute 

Human society, in the current course of ages, vibrates to and fro through 
periods of barbarism. God and Nature endure constantly eternal and per- 
fect. Manners, religions, policies, change and become barbarous or the 
opposite, as they harmonize with God and Nature. Science develops how 
this harmony may be known and practised. As we recede from it, tur- 
bulent force dominates, numbers are dwarfed, civilization withers, liberty 
is lost ; as we approach it, civilization expands, charity smiles, order and 
empire rise. 

Nature here for us, ii^on our Continent, amidst a stupendous vastnesa 
of configuration, preserves an austere simplicity, which guides the instinct- 


ive glance of empire witli unerring certainty. Here is that continental 
line, the discovery of which mankind has awaited with the keenest 

In the ripeness of time the hoj)e of humanity is realized ; it is by this 
that our people are about to construct the Continental Railway. Like the 
refulgent girdle with which antiquity bound, in one chorus, the sister- 
hood of the Graces, we will behold united, by one zone, the three sister 
Continents, Europe, America, and Asia. 

Here, through the heart of our territory, our population, our States, our 
cities, our farms and habitations, will traverse the broad current of com- 
merce, where passengers and cargoes may at any time or place embark 
upon or leave the vehicles of transportation. 

Down with the parricidal treason which will banish it from the land, 
from among ihQjpeoplc, to force it into the harrcn ocean, outside of society, 
through foreign nations, into the torrid heats, along solitary circuitous 
routes, imprisoned for months in great ships ! 

This Continental Raihcay is an essential domestic institution, more 
powerful and more permanent than law, or popular consent, or political 
constitutions, to thoroughly complete the great system of fluvial arteries 
which fraternize us into one people ; to bind the two sea-hoards to this one 
continental Union, like ears to the human head ; to radicate the founda- 
tions of the Union so broad and deep, and establish its structure so solid, 
that no possible force or stratagem can shake its permanence ; to secure 
such scope and space to progress, that equality and prosperity shall never 
be impaired or chafe for want of room. 

The pious veneration spontaneously awarded by the human heart to 
men, whose lives exhibit exalted devotion and exalted success, inspiring 
and perpetuating in society the " principle of virtue always in eocerdse," 
has placed Hercules, the pioneer of the system of the Mediterranean, in 
the number of the immortal gods of antiquity : a constellation in the 
ethereal canopy diurnally renews his memory, his name, and his actions. 

IModern times, accepting the tradition, behold it stamped upon the coin 
of Spain and the Indies, to obtain a circulation as universal and familiar 
as the human race. 

The American people pursue the planting of empire, advancing with 
intense celerity ; moving to the front according to a system understood and 
self-disciplined ; marching with the cadence of an army of innumerable 
legions ; uniting in one homogeneous order, with the same energies, a 
single aim, and rushing to consummate a common destiny. Shining in 
the front of this marching host, the pioneer and exemplar, "Jirst in u-a7-, 
first in peace, and first in the liearts of his countrymen," appears the form 


of Washington, whose oracular wisdom and intrepid constancy inspired 
the normal councils where its mould was cast, its strategy fixed, and its 
unalterable mission first inaugurated. Let this name, then, find a monu- 
ment around whose base the condensed column of progress shall file to 
and fro during all future ages I 

Where the summit-crest of our continent is Ipund ; the focal source of 
its rivers and its sierras ; where the cloud-cunipelling Cordillera culmi- 
nates over the " Gateway of empires ;" let these commemorate this name 
immortally, while the grass shall grow and the waters run, as firm and 
enduring as the loftiest mountain. Let the cliildren of the world be 
taught to say : Behold the Pass and the Pillars of Washington ! 

The history of the human race arranges and gauges itself by genera- 
tions. Thirty-three years are estimated to be the period of control exer- 
cised by each generation over the long life of a nation. As each succeeds 
its predecessor, the work of progress is reinvigorated, and fresh power and 
new conquests accumulate. The present is the eighty-sixth year of the 
Federal Constitution, and inaugurates the third generation of our united 

The first gave to us this sacred Union, and founded our continental 
Republic. The second has filled up the Atlantic half of the continent 
with States, secured the maritime connections with that ocean and with 
Europe, and has blazed for us the way across the continent to the Pacific 
and to Asia. We, the third generation, receive from them the pious task 
to plant States onward to that ocean ; to complete the zodiac of fraternal 
nations round the globe, and to set deep and firm to their outward dimen- 
sions the foundations they have laid. 

As we assume our task, illuminated by the example of their wisdom, 
energy, and glory, intent to equal them in the first and surjxiss them in 
the rest, may we not repeat this invocation to the luminary of the universe, 
as he departs to usher in another day : — 

" The weary sun hath made a golden set, 
And, by the bright track of his fiery car, 
Gives token of a goodly day to-morrow !" 



The most obviously remarkable pliysieal feature of America and of the 
inhabited globe, is the Basin of the Mississij^j^i. As yet the popular mind 
does not clearly comprehend its dimensions, and the understanding of its 
physical characteristics is indistinct and vague. It is bisected through its 
centre by a supreme artery, which above St. Louis has received the name 
of the Missouri, and below, the 3Iississip2^i Eivei*. 

This is 5000 miles in length, and its surface is a continuous inclined 
plane, descending seven inches in the mile. Into this central artery, as 
into a common trongJi^ descend innumerable rivers coming from the great 
mountain chains of the continent. 

All of the immense area thus drained, forms a single basin, of which 
the circumferent mountains form the rim. It may also be called an amphi- 
theatre, embracing 1,123,100 square miles of surfece. This has been, 
during the antediluvian ages, the bed of a great ocean, such as is now the 
Grulf of Mexico or the Mediterranean, above the surface of which the 
mountains protruded themselves as islands. 

Gradually filled up by the filtration of the waters during countless ages, 
it has reached its present altitude above the other basins, over which the 
oceans now still roll, and into which, the waters have retired. 

The " Basin of the Mississippi^ is, then, a pavement of calcareous rock 
many thousand feet in depth, formed by the sediment of the superincum- 
bent water, deposited stratum upon stratum, compressed by its weight and 
crystallized into rock by its chemical fermentation and pressure. It is in 
exact imitation of this sublime process of the natural world, that every 
housewife compresses the milk of her dairy into solid cheese and butter. 

It is, therefore, a homogeneous, undulating plain of the secondary or 
sedimentary formation, surmounted by a covering of soil from which 
springs the vegetation, as hair from the external skin of an animal. 
Through this coating of soil, and into the soft surface strata of rock, the 
descending fresh waters burrow their channels, converging everywhere from 
the circumferent rim to the lowest level and pass out to the sea. 

In this system, which is the same as the circulation of the blood in 


animal life, the Missouri River and the minutest rill that flows from a 
garden fountain, has each its specific and conspicuous place. Hence the 
corresponding order in the undulations, the variety, and the complexity 
of contour in the surface and in its vegetation. 

Such is this vast Basin, whose transverse diameter is 2500 miles, and so 
simple, homogeneous, and clear is the system of its geology and its waters. 
The vegetation and climate have a like consistent order of arrangement, 
and are more varied. These vary with the latitude, the distance from the 
oceans, and with the altitude. 

The insular site of New York City is upon the bank of the sea, is sixty 
feet elevated above the sea, and is constantly irrigated by the evaporation 
coming from the sea ; it is in latitude 41 ° 30' north. 

The plain of the South Pass is 2000 miles from the sea ; is elevated 
7500 feet above the sea ; has no vapor from the sea ; but an atmosphere 
rainless and without dew ; it is in latitude 42° 30' north. 

Such are the contrasts in the elements afiecting climate and vegetation. 

Through the interval between these two extremes Nature changes, from 
one to the other, by a graduation so delicate and uniform as to be scarcely 
sensible to a traveller who goes less than the whole distance. Yet, to one 
who does so, these changes are as palpable upon the face of Nature, as are 
the diurnal alternations of light and darkness. The timber, the flora, and 
the grasses indicate the presence and absence of atmospheric irrigation, as 
palpably as the sun indicates the day, and the stars the night. 

All that portion of the Mississippi Basin lying between the Mississippi 
River and the Atlantic, is densely timbered, excepting only a portion of 
Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin ; so also are the States of Louisiana, 
Arkansas, and South Missouri. 

An irregular line from the head of Lake Erie, running towards the 
south and west into Texas, defines the cessation of the timber. Between 
this line and the sea exists a continuous forest region, perpetually moist- 
ened by showers from the ocean. 

Beyond this line, and deeper into the continent, the upland ceases to 
nourish timber, which is replaced by luxuriant annual grasses, though 
narrow lines of forest continue upon the saturated bottoms of the rivers 
and in the islands. This is the Prairie region of luxuriant annual grasses, 
and soft, arable soil, over which the fires annually sweep after the decay 
of vegetation. 

The termination of this belt is marked by an irregular line parallel to 
the first, where the rains cease, and the timber entirely disappears. It is 
about 450 miles in width, and within it artificial irrigation is not prac- 
tised, nor necessary, it being everywhere soft, arable, and fertile. 



To this succeeds the immense rainless region onward to the mountains, 
exclusively pastorc\l, of a compact soil, coated with the dwarf buffalo grass, 
without trees, and the abode of the aboriginal cattle. That no desert does 
or can exist within this Basin, is manifest from the abundance and mag- 
nitude of the rivers ; the uniform calcareous formation ; the absence of a 
tropical sun ; its longitudinal position across the temperate zone ; and the 
greatness and altitude of the mountains on its western rim. 

The river system of the Mississippi Basin resembles a fan of palm-leaf. 
The stem in the State of Louisiana rests in the Grulf ; above, the affluent 
rivers converge to it from all parts of the compass. From the east come 
in the Homochitto, the Yazoo, the Ohio, the Illinois, and the Upper Mis- 
sissippi. From the loest^ the Red River, the Washita, the Arkansas, ithe 
White, St. Francis, and Osage Rivers, the Kansas, the Triple Platte, the 
L'Eau qui Cours, and the Yellowstone, all navigable rivers of great length 
and importance. 

These rivers present a continuous navigable channel of 22,500 miles, 
having 45,000 miles of shore, an amount of navigation and coast equal to 
the Atlantic Ocean. 

The area of the Mississippi Basin classifies itself into one-and-a-half- 
fifths of compactly-growing forest, the same of prairie, and two-fifths of 
great plains. Through all of these the river system is ramified as minutely 
complex as are the veins and arteries of the human system. 

The population is at present 18,000,000. The capacity for population 
is indefinite. Comparison will illustrate this interesting fact. 

Society erects itself into empires in order to arrive at strength, civilization, 
and permanence. The most perfect example is the empire of the Romans, 
whose history we familiarly possess complete, of its rise, culmination, and 
slow decline. This empire occupied and fused into one political and social 
system the Basin of the Mediterranean, whose area is 1,160,0C0 square 

From out of this they never passed, except into the corner of Gaul and 
Britain, but restricted themselves to the Mediterranean and Pontic Seas, 
to the Nile, to the Danube, and to the Rhone. This empire, embracing 
the above area, contained under Trajan and the Antonines 131,000,000 -of 
population, and, Rome itself, in the geographical centre, had a diameter of 
50 miles and 10,000,000 of inhabitants ! 

But the area of this Basin is, for the most part, a salt-water waste, into 
which protrude the peninsulas of Asia Minor, jlreece, Italy, and Spain, 
themselves filled with mountain vertebrse, and also a few islands. Space 
for habitations and the production of food is, therefore, scarce. 

The equivalent, with us, of this salt surface and rugged mountains, is, 


everywhere, an undulating, calcareous plain, uniformly inhabitable and 
productive. The rivers surpass the sea for the freightage of commerce, 
and the front of land upon them exceeds the coasts of the oceans in 
amount and accessibility. The Basin of the 3Iississippi will then more 
easily contain and feed ten times the population, or 1,310,000,000 of 
inhabitants ! 

If the calcai-eous plain extending to the Arctic Sea, the two maritime 
fronts, and the mountain formation, be added, and the whole compared to 
Europe and Asia, 2,000,000,000 will easily find room — a population double 
the existing human race ! 

This Basin is all within the Temperate Zone ; but upon the shores of 
the Gulf, at the level of the sea, tropical fruits, flowers, and vegetation are 
produced. On the high mountain slopes grows the vegetation of the Arctic 
Zone. Between these are found every kind of agricultural production, as 
we descend from the extremes to the central medium. 

In position it is exactly central to the continent. Not fiir remote from 
the west bank of the Missouri River, in the bosom of romantic scenery 
and fertile prairie, is a spot where the Smokyhill and Republican Rivers, 
by their confluence, form the Kansas. This is the geographical centre at 
once of the North American continent, and of the Basin of the Mississippi. 

The circle described from this centre with a radius to San Francisco will 
pass through Vancouver on the Columbia, the port of Severn River on 
Hudson's Bay, through Quebec^ through Boston, through Havana, Vera 
Cruz, and the city of Mexico. With a radius to the 49th degree, a circle 
will pass through Mobile, New Orhans, and Matagorda. This spot is, 
therefore, the geographical centre of the North American Continent and of 
the Basin of the Mississippi, both at once. 

It is also equally the centre of the American Union, as it is now 
blocked out into existing States and into prospective States, to occupy 
sites in the now-existing Territories ! Moreover, it is equidistant from, and 
exactly in the middle between, the two halves of the human family, dis- 
tinctly concentrated ; the one half Christians, occupying Western Europe, 
to the number of 259,000,000 of population; the other half Pagans, 
occupying Oriental Asia and Polynesia, to the number of 650,000,000 ! 

Europe has all the outlets of its inland seas and rivers towards the 
west, debouching on to our Atlantic front, towards which its whole surface 
slopes. Asia similarly presents to our Pacific front an Oriental slop>e, 
containing her gi-eat rivers, the densest masses of her population, and 
detached islands of great area, dense population, and infinite production. 

The distance from the European to the Asian shores (from Paris t(, 
Pekin), travelling straight by the continuous river line of the Potomac, 


Ohio, Missouri, Platte, and Snake Rivers, and across the two oceans, ia 
only 10,000 geographic miles. 

This straight line is the axis of that temperate zone of the Northern 
Hemisphere of the globe, thirty-three degrees in width, which contains 
four-fifths of the land, nine-tenths of the people, and all the white races, 
commercial activity, and industry of the civilized world. 

When, therefore, this interval of North America shall be filled up, the 
affiliation of mankind will be accomplished, proximity recognized, the dis- 
traction of intervening oceans and equatorial heats cease, the remotest 
nations grouped together and fused into one universal and convenient 
system of immediate relationship. 

Such are some of the extraordinary attractions presented to mankind, as 
a social mass, by the position and configuration of the Mississippi Basin. 
There is another and superlative prospective view. This presents itself 
in contrasting the physical configuration of North America with the 
other continents. 

Europe, the smallest in area of the continents, culminates in its centre 
into the icy masses of the Alps. From the glaciers, where all the great 
^rivers have their sources, they descend the declivities and radiate to the 
different seas. 

The Danube flows directly east to the Pontic Sea ; the Po, to the 
Adriatic ; the Rhone, to the Sea of Lyons ; the Rhine, north to the 
■Grerman Sea. Walled ofi" by the Pyreuean and Carpathian Mountains, 
divergent and isolated, are the Tagus, the Elbe, and other single rivers, 
affluents of the Baltic, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Pontic 

Descending /ro??i common radiant points and diverging everyway from 
■one another, no intercommunication exists among the rivers of Europe 
towards their sources ; navigation is petty and feeble. Art and commerce 
have never, during thirty centuries, united so many small valleys, remotely 
isolated by impenetrable barriers. 

Hence upon each river dwells a distinct people, difi"ering from all the rest 
in race, language, religion, interests, and habits. Though o^ten politically 
amalgamated by conquest, they again relapse into fragments, from innate 
geographical incoherence. Religious creeds and diplomacy form no more 
enduring bond. 

The history of these nations is a story of perpetual war, of mutual 
extermination ; an appalling dramatic catalogue of a few splendid tyran- 
nies crushing multitudinous millions of submissive and unchronicled serfs. 

Exactly similar to Europe., though grander in size and population, is 


From the stupendous central barrier of the Himalayas run the four 
great rivers of China, due east, to discharge themselves under the rising 
sun : towards the south run the rivers of Cochin China, the Ganges, and 
the Indus : towards the west, the rivers of the Caspian : and north, 
through Siberia to the Arctic Sea, many rivers of the first magnitude. 

During fifty centuries, as now, the Alps and Himalaya Mountains have 
proved insuperable barriers to the amalgamation of the nations around 
their bases and dwelling in the valleys that radiate from their slopes. 

The continents of Africa and South America, as far as we are familiar 
with the details of their surfaces, are even more than these perplexed into 
dislocated fragments. 

In contrast, the interior of North America presents towards heaven an 
expanded, concave bowl, to receive and fuse into harmony whatsoever 
enters within its rim. So, each of the other continents presenting the 
convex surface of a bowl reversed, scatter everything from a central apex 
into radiant distraction. 

Political societies and empires have in all ages conformed themselves to 
emphatic geographical facts. This Democratic Republican empire of 
North America is, then, predestined to expand and fit itself to the conti- 
nent ; to control the oceans on either hand, and eventually the continents 
beyond them. Much is uncertain, yet through all the vicissitudes of the 
future, this much of eternal truth is discernible. 

In geography the antithesis of the old world, in society we are and will 
be the reverse. Our North America will rapidly accumulate a population 
equalling that of the rest of the world combined : a people one and indi- 
visible, identical in manners, language, customs, and impulses : preserv- 
ing the same civilization, the same religion ; imbued with the same 
opinions, and having the same political liberties. 

Of this we have two illustrations now under our eye, the one passing 
away, the other advancing. The aboriginal Indian race, amongst whom, 
from Darien to the Esquimaux, and from Florida to Vancouver's Island, 
exists a perfect identity in hair, complexion, features, religion, stature, and 
language : and, second, in the instinctive fusion into one language and into 
one new race of immigrant Germans, English, Norwegians, Celts, and 
Italians, whose individualities are obliterated in a single generation. 

Thus, the perpetuity and destiny of our sacred Union find their con- 
clusive proof and illustration in the bosom of nature. The political storms 
that periodically rage are but the clouds and sunshine that give variety to 
the atmosphere and checker our history as we march. 

The possession of the Basin of the Mississippi, thus held in unity by 
the American people, is a supreme, a crowning mercy. Viewed alone in 


its wonderful position and capacity among the continents and the nations ; 
viewed, also, as the dominating part of the great calcareous plain formed 
of the conterminous Basins of the Mississippi, St. Lawrence, Hudson's 
Bay, and Athabasca, the amphitheatre of the world — ^here is supremely, 
indeed, the most magnificent dwelling-place marked out by God for man's 

Behold, then, rising now and in the future, the empire which industry 
and self-government create. The growth of half a century, hewed out of 
the wilderness — its weapons, the axe and plow ; its tactics, labor and 
energy ; its soldiers, free and equal citizens. 

Behold the oracular goal to which our eagles march, and whither the 
phalanx of our States and people moves harmoniously on, to plant a liiuv- 
dred States and consummate their civic greatness. 


>>IUl II,,. 





There has been a radical misapprehension in the popular mind as to 
the true character of the " Great Plains of America,^' as complete as that 
which pervaded Europe respecting the Atlantic Ocean during the whole 
historic period prior to Columbus. These Plains are not deserts, but 
the opposite, and are the cardinal basis of the future empire of commerce 
and industry now erecting itself upon the North American Continent. 

They are calcareous, and form the Pastoral Garden of the world. 
Their position and area may be easily understood. The meridian line 
which terminates the States of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and Iowa 
on the west, forms their eastern limit, and the Rocky Mountain crest their 
western limit. Between these limits they occupy a longitudinal parallel- 
ogram of less than 1000 miles in width, extending from the Texan to the 
Arctic coasts. 

There is no timber upon them, and single trees are scarce. They have 
a gentle slope from the icest to the east, and abound in rivers. They are 
clad thick with nutritious grasses, and swarm with animal life. The soil 
is not silicious or sandy, but is a fine calcareous mould. They run smoothly 
out to the navigable rivers, the Missouri, Mississippi, and St. Lawrence, 
and to the Texan coast. 

The mountain masses towards the Pacific form no serious barrier 
between them and that ocean. 

No portion of their whole sweep of surface is more than 1000 miles 
from the most facile navigation. The prospect is everywhere gently undu- 
lating and graceful, being bounded, as on the ocean, by the horizon. 
Storms are rare, except during the melting of the snows upon the crest of 
the Rocky Mountains. 

The climate is comparatively rainless ; the rivers serve, like the Nile, 
to irrigate rather than drain the neighboring surface, and have few afflu- 
ents. They all run from west to east, having beds shallow and broad, and 
the basins through which they flow are flat, long, and narrow. Tlie area 
of the " Great Plains" is equivalent to the surface of the twenty-four 
States between the Mississippi and the Atlantic Sea. They are one homo- 



geneous formation, smooth, uniform, and continuous, without a single 
abrupt mountain, timbered space, desert, or lake. 

From their ample dimensions and position they define themselves to be 
the pasture-fields of the world. Upon them pastoral agriculture will 
become a separate grand department of continental industry. 

The pastoral characteristic, being novel to our people, needs a minute 
explanation. In traversing the continent from the Atlantic beach to the 
South Pass, the point of greatest altitude and remoteness from the sea, we 
cross successively the timbered region, the prairie region of soft soil and 
long annual grasses, and finally the Great Plains. The two first are irri- 
gated by the rains coming from the sea, and are arable. 

The last is rainless, of a compact soil resisting the plow, and is, there- 
fore, pastoral. The herbage is peculiarly adapted to the climate and the 
dryness of the soil and atmosphere, and is perennial. It is edible and 
nutritious throughout the year. This is the "gramma^'' or " buffalo grass.^ ' 
It covers the ground one inch in height, has the appearance of a delicate 
moss, and its leaf has the fineness and spiral texture of a negro's hair. 

During the melting of the snows in the immense mountain masses on 
the western frontier of the Great Plains, the rivers swell like the Nile, 
and yield a copious evaporation in their long sinuous courses across the 
Plains : storm-clouds gather on the summits, roll down the mountain 
flanks, and discharge themselves in vernal showers. During this tempo- 
rary prevalence of moist atmosj^here these delicate grasses grow, seed in 
the root, and are cured into hay upon the ground by the gradually return- 
ing drouth. 

It is this longitudinal belt of perennial pasture upon which the buffalo 
finds his winter food, dwelling upon it without regard to latitude, and here 
are the infinite herds of aboriginal cattle peculiar to North America — 
buffiilo, wild horses, elk, antelope, white and black-tailed deer, mountain 
sheep, the grisly bear, wolves, the hare, badger, porcupine, and smaller 
animals innumerable. 

The aggregate number of this cattle, by calculation from sound data, 
exceeds one hundred million. No annual fires ever sweep over the Great 
Plains ; these are confined to the Prairie region. 

The Great Plains also swarm with poultry — the turkey, the mountain 
cock, the prairie cock, sage chickens, the sand-hill crane, the curlew. 
Water-fowl of every variety, the swan, goose, brant, ducks. Marmots, the 
armadillo, the peccary, reptiles, the horned frog. Birds of prey, eagles, 
vultures, the raven, and the small birds of game and song. The streams 
abound in fish. Dogs and demi-wolves abound. 

The immense population of nomadic Indians, lately a million in num- 


ber, have, from immemorial antiquity, subsisted exclusively upon these 
aboriginal herds. They are unacquainted with any kind of agriculture or 
the habitual use of vegetable food or fruits. 

From this source the Indian draws exclusively his food, his lodge, his 
fuel, harness, clothing, bed, his ornaments, weapons, and utensils. Here 
is kis sole dependence fro7n the beginning to the end of his existence. 
The innumerable carnivorous animals also subsist upon them. The buifalo 
alone have appeared to me as numerous as the American people, and to 
inhabit as uniformly as large a space of country. The buffalo robe at once 
suggests his adaptability to a winter climate. 

The Great Plains embrace a very ample proportion of arable soil for 
farms. The " bottoms^ ^ of the rivers are very broad and level, having 
only a few inches of elevation above the waters, which descend by a rapid 
and even current. They may be easily and cheaply saturated by all the 
various systems of artificial irrigation, azequias, artesian wells, or floo-'.- 
iug by machinery. 

Under this treatment the soils, being alluvial and calcareous, both from 
the sulphate and carbonate formations, return a prodigious yield, and are 
independent of the seasons. Every variety of grain, grass, vegetable, the 
grape and fruits, flax, hemp, cotton, and the flora, under a perpetual 
sun, and irrigated at the root, attain extraordinary vigor, flavor, and 

The Great Plains abound in fuel, and the materials for dwellings and 
fencing. Bituminous coal is everywhere interstratified with the calcareous 
and sandstone formation ; it is also abundant in the flanks of the moun- 
tains, and is everywhere conveniently accessible. The dung of the buffalo 
is scattered everywhere. 

The order of vegetable growth being reversed by the aridity of the 
atmosphere, what show above as the merest bushes, radiate themselves 
deep into the earth, and form below an immense arborescent growth. 
Fuel of wood is found by digging. 

Plaster and lime, limestone, freestone, clay, and sand, exist within the 
area of almost every acre. The large and economical adobe brick, hard- 
ened in the sun and without fire, supersedes other materials for walls and 
fences in this dry atmosphere, and, as in Syria and Egypt, resists decay 
for centuries. The dwellings thus constructed are most healthy, being 
impervious to heat, cold, damp, and wind. 

The climate of the Great Plains is favorable to health, longevity, intel- 
lectual and physical development, and stimulative of an exalted tone of 
tocitil civilization and refinement. 

The American people and their ancestral European people have dwelt 


for many thousand years exclusively in countries of timber and within 
the region of the maritime atmosj)here: where winter annihilates all vege- 
tation annually for half the year : where all animal food must be sustained, 
fed, and fattened by tillage with the plow : where the essential necessities 
of existence, food, clothing, fuel, and dwellings, are secured only by con- 
stant and intense manual toil. 

To this people heretofore^ the immense empire of pastoral agriculture^ 
at the threshold of which we have arrived, has been as completely a blank, 
as was the present condition of social development on the Atlantic Ocean 
and the American Continent, to the ordinary thoughts of the antique 
Grreeks and Romans. 

Hence this immense world of plains and mountains ; occupying three- 
fifths of our continent ; so novel to them and so exactly contradictory in 
every feature to the existing prejudices, routine, and economy of society, 
is unanimously pronounced an wiinJiahitable desert. 

To any reversal of such a judgment, the unanimous public opinion, the 
rich and poor, the wise and ignorant, the fiimous and obscure, agree to 
oppose unanimously a dogmatic and universal deafness. To them, the 
delineations of travellers, elsewhere intelligent, are here tinged with 
lunacy ; the science of geography is befogged ; the sublime order of Crea- 
tion no longer holds, and the sujDreme engineering of Grod is at fault and 
a chaos of blunders ! 

The Pastoral Region is longitudinal. The bulk of it is under the 
Temperate Zone, out of which it runs into the Arctic Zone on the north, 
and into the Tropical Zone on the south. The parallel Atlantic arahle 
and maritime region flaiaks it on the east ; that of the Pacific on the west. 
The Great Plains, then, at once separate and bind together these flanks, 
rounding out both the variety and compactness of arrangement in the ele- 
mentary details of society, wJiich enables a continent to govern itself with 
the same ease as a single city.^ 

* Such an internal adjustment of society, expanding itself uniformly over the 
whole area of the continent, accompanies incidentally and of necessity its grand 

The physical anatomy, auspicious and consistent in all its details, the intense range 
of variety, the neighborhood and compactness of these elements so various in configu- 
ration, warmth, altitude, and production, all conspire to dictate fusion and order. 
They correct and render impossible what is hostile and opposite to them. 

The conventionalities which anticipate tumult will assert, establish, and perpetuate 

The experiences of history arm us with precedents for our guidance, and instruct 
our judgments. They predict for us a wholesome employment of our energies, accom- 
panied by a subtle and zealous discipline competent to anticipate and to restrain 


Assuming, then, that the advancing column of progress, having reached 
and established itself in force all along the eastern front of the Great Plains^ 
from Louisiana to Minnesota : having, also, jumped over and flanked them 
to occupy California and Oregon : — 

Assuming that this column is about to debouch to the front and occupy 
them with the embodied impulse of o'ox fifty millions of population : here- 
tofore scattered upon the flanks, but now converging into phalanx upon 
the centre : some reflections, legitimately made, may cheer the timid, and 
confirm those who hesitate from old opinion and the prejudices of adverse 

It is well established that six-tenths of the food of the human family is, 
or ought to be, animal food, the result of pasfora? agriculture. The cattle 
of the world consume eight times the food per head, as compared with 
the human family. Meat, milk, butter, cheese, poultry, eggs, wool, leather, 
honey, are the productions of pastoral agriculture. Fish is the sponta- 
neous production of the water. 

Nine-tenths of the labor of arable culture is expended to produce the 
grain and gi'asses that sustain the present supplies to the world of the 
above enumerated articles of the pastoral order. If, then, a country can 
be found where pastoral produce is spontaneoud)/ sustained by nature, as 
fish in the ocean, it is manifest that arable labor, being reduced to the pro- 
duction of bread food only, may condense itself to a very small percent- 
age of its present volume, and the cultivated ground devoted to grain and 
grass be greatly reduced in acres. 

By the census of 1850, the pastoral culture of the American people 
resulting exclusively from the plow, exhibits the following aggregate : — 

Cattle of all kinds 18,378,907 

Horses and mules 4,890,050 

Sheep 21,722,220 

Swine 30,334,213 

Value $655,883,058 

It is probable that the aggregate ahoriginal stock of the Great Plains 
still exceeds in amount the above table. It is all sjyonfaneously supported 
by natui'e, as is the fish of the sea. 

Every kind of our domestic animals flourishes upon the Great Plains 
equally well with the wild ones. Three tame animals may be substituted 
for every wild one, and vast territories re-occupied, from which the wiJd 

The aucieut discordances between urban and rural populations, manners, and tem- 
per, will find their asperities mutually modified. Society, rectified by reflection from 
the propitious powers of Nature, will insensibly ascend to an exalted level, illustrating 
the perpetual dominance and activity of peace, industry, and concord. 


stock has been exterminated by indiscriminate slaughter and the increase 
of the wolves. 

The American people are about, then, to inaugurate anove? and immense 
order of industrial production : Pastoral Agriculture. — Its fields will 
be the Great Plains intermediate between the oceans. Once commenced, 
it will develop very rapidly. 

We trace in their history the successive inauguration and systematic 
growth of several of these distinct orders : The tobacco culture, the rice 
culture, the cotton culture, the immense provision culture of cereals and 
meats, leather and wool, the gold culture, navigation external and internal, 
commerce external and internal, transportation by land and water, the liemp 
culture, ihe fisheries, manufactures. 

Each of these has arisen as time has ripened the necessity for each, and 
noiselessly taken and filled its appropriate jdace in the general economy 
of our industrial empire. 

This pastoral property transports itself on the hoof, and finds its food 
ready furnished by nature. In these elevated countries fresh meats become 
the preferable food for man, to the exclusion of bread, vegetables, and 
salted articles. 

The atmosphere of the Ch'eat Plains is perpetually brilliant with sun- 
shine, tonic, healthy, pungent, and inspiring to the temper. It corresponds 
with and surpasses the historic climate of Syria and Arabia, from whence 
we inherit all that is ethereal and refined in our system of civilization, our 
religion, our sciences, our alphabet, our numerals, our written languages, 
our articles of food, our learning, and our system of social manners. 

As the site for a great central metropolitan city of the " Basin of the 
Mississippi'^ to arise prospectively upon the developments now maturing, 
Kansas City, at the mouth of the Kansas River, has the start, the geo- 
graphical position, and the existing elements with which any rival will 
contend in vain. 

It is the focal point where three developments, now near ripeness, will 
find their I'iver port. 1. The pastoral development. 2. The gold, silver, 
and salt production of the Sierra San Juan. 3. The continental railroad 
from the Pacific. 

These great fields of enterprise will all be recognized and understood by 
the popular mind, and will be under vigorous headway within the mature 
life of the existing generation. 

There must be a great city here, such as antiquity built at the head of 
the Mediterranean and named Jerusalem, Tyre, Alexandria, and Constan- 
tinople ; such as our own people name New York, New Orleans, San Fran- 
cisco, St. Louis. 




In proportion as curiosity, warmed by the expanding energy of pro- 
gress now everywhere palpitating with activity and fresh fire, extends our 
researches into every detail of our entire country, we are astonished and 
awed by the splendid magnitude of its architecture, and by the faultless 
grace and consistency of its anatomy. 

The Mountain System sparkles everywhere, and is checkered with 
the most startling beauties. The special recurrence of Parcs, which are 
innumerable, and are lavishly scattered over its area, has pre-eminent sig- 

These are charming valleys, accompanying the rivers. They surround 
their sources, or expand from their channels, between the mountain 
battlements, among which they flow. * 

Each is an amphitheatre. They maintain everywhere an undeviating 
rectitude of proportion, fitted in size to the volume of the rivers and 
mountains. Fertility and enchanting scenery mark them all. The most 
generous wealth of streams and vegetation are unfailing. 

In the latitudinal courses of the mountain structures of the other con- 
tinents, the favorable sunsJiine being absent, this form of valleys is either 
wanting, or they are unattractive. Those known to fame, are Kashmere 
in Asia : Constance and Grcneva, encased within the Alps of Europe. 
These bowls are occupied by water surfaces, and are unfitted for habita- 

The Parcs of the North American Andes find their culmination 
of superlative grandeur in the System op the Four Parcs op Colo- 

This System towers over and crowns the whole Continental structure. 
Mortised down, many thousand feet, into the ample expanse of the flat- 
tened cone, encircled by all the other North American mountains, they 
surround the sources and shed out all the grand arterial rivers, which 
radiate to all the seas. 

Here is the supreme dome, which surmounts the heart of North 
America ! 



Favored by their immense dimensions, and screened by an uninter- 
rupted envelope of primary mountain, edifices ; the climatic elements 
happily balanced ; give to their atmosphere a perpetual vernal temperature ; 
intense serenity and the most gorgeous splendor. 

They are bisected successively, through and through, by the one 7mn- 
dred and sixth meridian. 

Each one singly is of marvellous size, excellence of form, and eminent 

The group, as they are blended into one system, is miraculous ! This 
springs from its dominating continental position: from the juxtaposition: 
from the immediate contact: from the intense variety and supreme grace 
illustrating every detail and pervading the entire structure. 

Restricted especially to the System op the Four Parcs op Colo- 
rado, the San Luis Pare is readily entered at the extreme north 
through the Puncho Pass, penetrating the Cordillera from the Arkansas 
River. This pare, of elliptical form, and immense dimensions, is envel- 
oped between the Cordillera and Sierra Mimbres. 

It has its extreme northern point between these two Sierras, where they 
separate by a sharp angle and diverge ; the former to the southeast, and 
the latter to the southwest. 

The latitude of the Puncho Pass is 38° 30', the longitude 106°. It is 
one hundred and twenty-five miles southwest from Denver, and thirty- 
seven miles due ivest from Canon City. 

Emerging from the Puncho Pass, the waters- begin to gather and form 
the San Luis River. This flows to the south, through a valley of great 
beauty, which rapidly widens to the right and left. 

On the east flank, the Cordillera ascends abruptly and continuously, 
without any foot-hills, to a sharp, snowy summit. On the west, foot- 
hills and secondary mountains, rising one above the other, entangle the 
whole space of the Sierra Mimbres. 

The Sawatch River has its source on the inner (easterri) fl-ank of the 
Sierra Mimbres, about sixty miles south of its angle of divergence from 
the Cordillera, and, by a course nearly east, converges toward the lower 
San Luis River. It enters upon the pare by a similar valley. 

These two valleys expand into one another around this mass of foot- 
hills, fusing into the open pare, whose centre is here occupied by the San 
Luis Lake., into which the two rivers converge and discharge their waters. 

The San Luis Lake, extending south from the point of the foot-hills, 
occupies the centre of the pare for sixty miles. It forms a boicl without 
any outlet to its waters. It is encircled by immense saturated savannas 
of luxuriant grass. 


Its water surface expands over this savanna during the season of the 
melting snows upon the Sierras, and shrinks when the season of evapora- 
tion returns. From the flanks of the Cordillera on the east, at intervals 
of six or eight miles asunder, and at very equal distances, four teen streams 
other than the San Luis, descend and converge into the San Luis Lake, 

The belt of the sloping plain between the mountains and the lake, trav- 
ersed by so many parallel streams, bordered by meadows and groves of 
cottonwood-trees, has from this feature the name of " Los Alamos." It 
is sixty miles in length and twenty wide. 

On the opposite (western) side from the flank of the Sierra Mimbres, 
similar streams descend from the west into the lake, known as the Sa- 
watch, the Carnero, and the Gareta. 

The confluent streams thus converging into the San Luis Lake are nine- 
teen in number. The area thus occupied by this isolated lake and drained into 
it by its converging affluents, forming distinctly one-third of the Avhole 
surface of the pare, is classified under the general name oi '^ RinconJ' 

Advancing onward to the south along the loest edge of the plain, ten 
miles, from the Gareta, the Rio del Norte River issues from its mountain 
gorge. Its source is in the perpetual snows of the peaks of the San Juan, 
the local name given to this stupendous culmination of the Sierra 

The Del Norte flows from its extreme source due east one hundred and 
fifty miles, and having reached the longitudinal middle of the jyo^Tc, turns 
abruptly south, and, bisecting the pare for perhaps one hundred and fifty 
miles, passes beyond its rim in its course to the Grulf of Mexico. 

All the streams descending from the enveloping Sierras (other than the 
Alamos) converge into it their tributary waters. On the west come in 
successively the Pintada, the Rio del Gata, the Rio de la Gara, the 
Conejos, the San Antonio and Piedra. 

These streams, six or eight miles asunder, parallel, equidistant, fed 
by the snows of the Sierra Mimbres, have abundant waters, very fertile 
areas of land, and are all of the very highest order of beauty. 

Advancing again from the Rincon, at the eastern edge of the plain 
along the base of the Cordillera, the prodigious conical inass of the Sierra 
Blanca protrudes like a vast hemisphere into the plain and blocks the 
vision to the direct south. The road describes the arc of a semicircle 
around its base for thirty miles and reaches Fort Grarland. 

In the immediate vicinity of Fort Garland, the three large streams, the 
Yuta, the Sangre de Cristo, and the Trinchera, descend from the Cor- 
dillera, converge, unite a few miles west, and, blending themselves in the 
Trinchera, flow west twenty-four miles into the Rio del Norte. 


The line of the snowy Cordillera, hidden behind the bulk of the Sierra 
Blanca, here again reveals itself pursuing its regular southeast course and 
direction. Fourteen miles south is reached the town of San Zniis, upon 
the Culehra River ; seventeen miles farther is the town of Costilla, upon 
Costilla River. 

Fifteen miles farther the town of Rito Colorado is reached : eighteen miles 
farther onward the xlrroyo Hondo (between these is the San Cristoval) ; 
from the Arroyo Hondo to Taos is fourteen miles ; twenty miles beyond 
Taos is the mountain chain whose circle towards the west forms the 
southern mountain barrier which encloses the San Luis Pare in that 

The San Luis Pare is then an immense elliptical bowl, the bed of a 
primeval sea which has been drained : its bottom, smooth as a water sur- 
face, and concave, is 9400 square miles in area. It is watered by thirty- 
Jive mountain streams, which, descending from the encircling crest of 
snow, converge nineteen into the San Luis Lake, the rest into the Rio del 

An extraordinary symmetry of configniration is its prominent feature. 
The scenery, everywhere sublime, has the ever-changing variety of the 
kaleidoscope. Entirely around the edge of the plain, and closing the 
junction of the plain with the mountain's foot, runs a smooth glacis, 
exactly resembling the sea-beach which accompanies the conjunction of 
the land with the ocean. 

From this heach rise continuously, all around the horizon, the great 
mountains, elevating their heads above the line of perpetual snow. On 
the eastern side the escarpment of the Cordillera rises rapidly, and is 
abrupt ; on the tcestern side the crest of the Sierra Mimhres is more re- 
mote, having the interval filled with ridges, lessening in altitude as they 
descend to the plain of the pare. 

This continuous shelving flank of the Sierras, completing a perfect 
amphitheatre, has a superficial area equal to that of the level plain which 
ii envelopes, and gives to the whole enclosure within the encircling band 
of snow an area of 18,000 square miles. 

At an elevation of five or six thousand feet above the plain, a level line 
upon the mountain wall marks the cessation of arborescence, above which 
naked granite and snow alone are seen. 

To one who ascends to this elevation at any point, the whole interior 
of this prodigious amphitheatre, displaying an elliptical area of 11,520,000 
acres, is scanned by the eye and swept in at a single glance. Aided by a 
glass, the smallest objects scattered over the immense elliptical area beneath 
are discernible through the limpid, brilliant, and translucent atmosphere. 


Two facts impress themselves upon the senses : the perfect symmetry 
of configuration in nature, and the intense variety in the form and splen- 
dor of the landscape. The colors of the sky and atmosphere are intensely 
vivid and gorgeous ; the dissolving tints of light and shade are forever 
interchanging ; they are as infinite as are the altering angles of the solar 
rays in his diurnal circuit. 

The average elevation of the plain above the sea-level is G400 feet. 
The highest peaks have an altitude of 16,000 feet above the sea. In the 
serrated rim of the pare, as seen from the plain, projected against the 
canopy, are discernible seventeen peaks, at very equal distances from one 
another. Each one differs from all the rest in some peculiarity of shape 
and position. Each one identifies itself by some striking beauty. From 
the snows of each one descends some considerable river, as well within the 
pare, as outward down the external mountain back. 

We recognize, therefore, in the San Luis Pare an immense elliptica} 
basin, enveloping the sources of the Eio Bravo del Norte. It is isolated 
in the heart of the continent, 1200 miles from any sea. It is mortised, 
as it were, in the midst of the vast mountain bulk, where, rising gradu- 
ally from the oceans, the highest altitude and amplitude of the continent 
is attained. 

This pare spreads its plain from .30° to 38° 30', and is bisected by the 
106th meridian. Its greatest length is 210 miles; its greatest width is 
100 miles ; its aggregate approximate area is 18,000 square miles. 

Such being the geogrcq->ln'cal position, altitude, and peculiar unique con- 
figuration, these features suggest the in((uiry into parallel peculiarities of 
ineteorology ^ geology^ jyhyi^^cal structure, agriculture, mineralogy, and the 
economy of labor. 

The American people have heretofore developed tbeir social system exclu- 
sively on the borders of the two oceans, and within the maritime valleys 
of moderate altitude, having navigation and an atmosphere influenced by 
the sea. To them, then, the contrast is complete in every feature, in these 
high and remote altitudes, beyond all influence of the ocean, and specially 

There is an identity between the " Valley or Pare of the City of 
Mexico" and the San Luis Pare which ought to be here mentioned. They 
are similar twin basins of the great Plateau, classifying together in the 
physical structure of the continent. Mexico is in latitude 20°, longitude 
99°, and has an altitude of 7500 feet. 

The width of the continent is here 575 miles from ocean to ocean, and 
the divergence of the Cordilleras is 275 miles, which here is the width of 
the Plateau. 



At tlie 39tli degree, the continent expands to a width of 3500 miles 
between the oceans ; the Cordilleras have diverged 1200 miles asunder, 
and the Plateau has widened to the same dimensions. In harmony with 
the great expansion of the continent are all the details of its interior 

The " Pare of the City of Mexico'^ is but one-tenth in size and gran- 
deur as compared and contrasted with the San Luis Pare. It has an area, 
including the water surface of five lakes, of 1,278,'720 acres. Of identical 
anatomy, the former is a pigmy ; the latter a giant. The similitude as com- 
ponent parts of the mountain anatomy is in all respects absolute, as is also 
true of the other pares, which occupy longitudinally the centre of the 
State of Colorado. 

In METEOROLOGY the atmos2iheric condition of the San Luis pare, like 
its scenery, is one of constant brilliancy, both by day and night ; obey- 
ing steady laws, yet alternating with a playful methodical fickleness. 

There are no prolonged vernal or autumnal seasons. Summer and win- 
ter divide the year. Both are characterized by mildness of temperature. 
After the a?(^im?na? equinox, the snows begin to accumulate on the moun- 
tains. After the vernal equinox they dissolve. The formation of light 
clouds upon the crest of the Sierras is incessant. 

The meridian sun retains its vitalizing heat around the year; at mid- 
night prevails a corresponding tonic coolness. The clouds are wafted away 
by steady atmosjiheric currents coming from the west. They rarely inter- 
rupt the sunshine, but, refracting his rays, imbue the canopy with a shining 
silver light, at once intense and brilliant. The atmosphere and climate 
are essentially continental^ being uninterruptedly salubrious, brilliant, and 

The flanks of the great mountains, bathed by the embrace of these irri- 
gating clouds, are clad with great forests of pine, fir, spruce, hemlock, 
aspen, oak, cedar, piiion, and a variety of smaller fruit-trees and shrubs, 
which j^rotect the sources of the springs and rivulets. 

Among the forests, alternate mountain meadows of luxuriant and 
nutritious gTass. The ascending clouds, rarely condensed, furnish little 
irrigation at the depressed elevation of the plains, which are destitute 
of timber but clothed in grass. These delicate grasses, growing rapidly 
during the annual melting of the snows, cure into hay as the aridity 
of the atmosphere returns. They form perennial pastures, and supply 
the winter food of the aboriginal cattle, everywhere indigenous and abun- 

An infinite variety in temper and temperature is suggested as flowing 
from the juxtaposition of extreme altitudes and depressions ; permanent 


snows, running rivers, and tlie concentric courses of the mountains and 
rivers. Nature is benignant and graceful throughout her whole plan, and 
is propitious in the working of all her laws and in every element. 

The longituduial Sierras receive and absorb the glory of the morning 
and of the evening sun upon their flanks, the noontide beams upon their 
summits ; they cast no chilling shadow. 

Within the bowl of the pare, the heat of the shining sun accumulates ; 
when the sun has set, this heated atmosphere ascends ; simulttineously the 
colder atmosphere descends from the engirdling rim of snow. These 
atmospheres permeate broadcast the one the other, through and through ; 
each one tempers the other by this play of natural transition. 

The snows of the altitudes are constantly attacked and their excessive 
accumulation defeated : no glaciers form to enclose the rocks and vegeta- 
tion, as in a perpetual tomb. The heat of the concave plain is in a like 
manner temjDered to a genial standard ; irrigation and the streams are con- 
stantly maintained ; vegetation constantly and as uniformly nurtured to 

Storms of rain and wind are neither frequent nor lasting. The air is 
uniformly dry, having a racy freshness and an exhilarating taste. A 
soothing serenity is the prevailing impression upon those who live perpet- 
ually exposed to the seasons. Mud is never anywhere or at any time 
seen. Moderation and concord appear to result from the presence and con- 
tact of elements so various. 

The critical conclusions to which a rigid study of nature brings the 
scrutinizing mind are the reverse of first impressions. The multitudinous 
variety of nature adjusts itself with a delicate harmony which brings into 
healthy action the industrial energies. 

There is no use for the practice of professional pharmacy. Chronic 
health and longevity characterize animal life. The envelope of cloud- 
compelling peaks : the seclusion from the oceans : the rarity of the air 
inhaled, and the absence of humidity : disinfect the earth, the water, and 
the atmosphere of exhalations and miasmas. Health, sound and uninter- 
rupted, stimulates and sustains a high state of mental and physical energy. 
All of these are burnished, as it were, by the perpetual brilliancy and 
salubrity of the atmosphere and landscape ; whose unfailing beauty and 
tonic taste stimulate and invite the physical and mental energies to per- 
petual activity. 

As to its GEOLOGY and minerals, the San Luis Pare is in the highest 
degree interesting and remarkable. It is found to contain, intermingled 
and in order, a complete epitome of all the elements of which geological 
science and research take note. Its intramural locality between the pri- 


meval crests of the Cordillera, on the east, and the Sien*a Mimbres 
(here called the " San Jiiaii"'), on the tcesf, multiplies this variety indef- 

Those lyrimary Sierras, separated by the pare, face one another in full 
sight, as they rear their flanks from the opposite edges of the concuA^e 
plain. The successive periods and stupendous forces which have expended 
themselves to produce what is in sight, and then subsided to an eternal 
rest, each particularly manifests itself. 

The conib of the Sierra presents the prodigious plates of primeval 
porphyry driven up, as the subsoil of a furrow, from the lowest ten-estrial 
crust and protruding their vertical edges toward the sky. 

The summit, yielding to the corroding forces, pi'esents a wedge toward 
the canopy ; is arranged in peaks resembling the teeth of a saw, is above 
all arborescence, and is either clad in perpetual snow, or is bald rock. 

Against this is lapped perpendicularly the second stratum, less by many 
thousand feet in altitude, its top forming a hinn or bench. This hcncli 
being the rended edge of the erupted stratum, softer than the first and 
receiving the debris from above, has a deep, fertile soil, a luxuriant alpine 
vegetation, forests of lir and aspen, and is the higlicst xc^xow of arborescence 
and vegetable growth. 

This is the region of rocks, where the metals, especialli/ gold and silver, 
abound in crevices charged and infused with the richest ores. It is from 
hence that the gold of the gulches is disintegrated and descends. Here 
are springs of water and the sources of rivers. The timber is excellent 
and the pastures of various grasses luxuriant and inexhaustible. Swept 
by ascending currents of vapor, irrig-ation is constant. 

This elevated bench is a permanent characteristic of the mountain 
flank, continuous as the continent itself ; a colossal staircase, whose stops 
are themselves of moiintain magnitude. It is here, at these surfices of 
contact of the erupted plates of the lowest terrestrial crust, that the 
thread of the "^(/oA? Ac/^"' is revealed and found. From this thread, as 
from a core outward, the precious metals taper in quantity and become 
diluted in the immensity of the rocks, as a hill of rock salt disappears 
to the eye, dissolved in the immensity of the ocean. 

The top of this continuous bench is luidulating, broad, and occasionally 
crossed by transverse ridges and the chasms of water-courses descending 
from above. The front flank of this bench forms the stupendous escarp- 
ment of the mountains, everywhere lofty and precipitous. It is cut through 
by innumerable streams, up whose gorges access to the upper regions is 
attained, and the internal contents, the intestines, as it were, of the rocks 
are revealed to siiiht ;ind seai'ch. 


Forming the petlinieut of this stupemlou.s iiiural escurpnient is the 
second hinn or bench (being tlie lowest^ in tlie general nionntain descent. 
Here the upproiiching elevation of the plain: the increase in size oi' the 
streams : the accumulating debris from above, and the increased atmos- 
pheric abrasion : all unite to obliterate the angularity of the rocks, and 
impair the striking distinctness of formation. 

Forests of pine and deciduous trees prevail. The flora and vegetation 
is abundant and various. The atmospheric irrigation becomes uncertain, 
and the rocks are covered with soil or the I'ragments of their own super- 
ficial destruction. Immediately following is the broad space occupied by 
the fusion of the mountain base and the plain gently ascending to meet 
it. Here is a })rofile infinitely indented and broken ; alternately the slop- 
ing ridges protrude their ribs into the plain, and the plain advances its 
valleys between them, to receive the streams. This is the region of the 
placers, where is checked in its descent and lodged beneath the alluvial 
soil the free gold washed down by torrents from the overhanging sumnuts. 

This sketcii of the /ior/ua^ structure and configuration of the Cordillera 
is illustrated by a checkered list of details in its minute (ilemcnts. The 
priraeval I'ocks, heated to incandescence, rest in their vertical positions un- 
altered from their original form ; they have been roasted but not liquefied. 

Original strata of limestone and gypsum, uplifted on high but not de- 
stroyed, rest upon the summits as a torn hat. Gypsum, limestone, slates, 
clays, shale, earths, and salts are thus found near the highest summits. 
The decay of the secondary rocks gives extraordinary fertility to the 
mountain flanks, and to the alluvial bottoms below. Hence the luxuriance 
of the arborescence, the pastures, and the flora. 

The altitude of the summits gathers and retains the snows, whose gla- 
(•iers give birth to innumerable rivers. These gash the precipitous flanks 
with chasms, up which roads ascend. 'I'he composition of the rocks is 
here revealed ; the mysteries of their interior contents are unravelled, and 
the secretions of nature subjected to the human eye and hand. 

Thus, then, erects itself the inimevdl Cordillera, constructed of hori- 
zontal plates, vertically thrown up by stupendous volcanic forces, j)artially 
altered and roasted by incandescent heat, but neither destroyed nor recast 
in form. The secondary rocks are tossed and scattered high in the upper 
regions, but are not calcined )>y flame. 

The metallic ores are as various as the variety of the rocks, cnriclied by 
heat and exposed by upheaval and corrosion. No lava, no pumice, no 
obsidian, nothing of melted matter from the Plutonic region is seen. This 
furrowing of the terrestrial crust has alone occupied and exhausted the 
stupendous volcanic throes of the subterranean world of fire. 


The Sierra Mimbres, forming the western envelope of the Pare, is 
not dissimilar to the Cordillera in its oiigin, composition, and configura- 
tion. Rising from the level of the great Plateau, it is of inferior bulk 
and rank. It forms the backbone from whose contrasted flanks descend 
the waters of the Rio del Norte, on the east^ and the Rio Colorado, on 
the icest. 

Craters of extinct volcanoes are numerous ; streams of lava, once liquid, 
abound ; pedrigals of semi-crystalline basalt submerge and cover the val- 
ley into which they have flowed, and over which they have hardened. 

This Sierra, then, has a general direction from north to south, corre- 
sponding with the 109th meridian. It has all the characteristics in ?jwjua- 
ture of the Cordillera, but is checkered and interrupted by the escape of 
subterranean fires, having areas overflowed and buried beneath the erupted 
current. Where the nascent springs of the Rio del Norte have their birth, 
the Sierra IMimbres culminates to stupendous peaks of perennial snow, 
locally named Sierra San Juan. 

The concave plain of the San Luis Pare, begirt by this elliptical zone of the 
Sierras, thus capped with a ragged fringe of snow projected upward against 
the canopy, is the receptacle of their converging waters. It is a bowl 
of vast amplitude. It has for countless ages received and kept the sedi- 
mentary settlings of so prodigious a circuit of the Sierras. It is builded 
up with every variety of form, structure, and geological elements elsewhere 
found to enter into the architecture of nature. 

Hither descend the currents of water, of the atmosphere, of lava. The 
rocks rent from the naked pinnacles, tortured by the intense vicissitudes 
which assail them ; the fragments rolled by the perpetual pressure of 
gravity upon the descending slopes ; the sands and soils from the founda- 
tions of rocks and clays of every gradation of hardness ; the humus of 
expired forests and annual vegetation ; elements carbonized by transient 
fires ; organic decay ; all these elements descend, intermingle, and accu- 

This concave plain is, then, a bowl filled with sedimentary drift, covered 
with soil, and varnished over, as it were, with vegetation. The northern 
department of Rincon, closely embraced by the Sierras, and occupied by 
the San Luis Lake, is a vast savanna deposited from the filtration of the 
waters, highly impregnated with the mountain debris. Beneath this soil 
is a continuous pavement of peat, which maintains the saturation of the 
super-soil, and is admirable for fuel. 

The middle region of the plain, longitudinally, displays a crater of the 
most perfect form. The interior pit has a diameter of twenty miles, from 
the centre of which is seen the circumferent wall forming an exact circle, 


and ill lieiglit five hundred feet. This wull is a barranca, composed of 
lava, pumice, calcined lime, metamorphosed sandstone, vitrified rocks, and 

This circumferent barranca is perforated through by the entrance and 
departure of the Rio del Norte, the Culebra, and the Costilla Rivers, which 
traverse the northern, western, and southern edges of the interior. 

By this and other forces of corrosion this barranca is on three sides cut 
into isolated hills, called cerritos, of every fantastic form and of extraor- 
dinary beauty of shape and tints. The bottom of the crater has been 
filled up with the soils resulting from the decay of this variety of matei-ial, 
introduced by the currents of the water and of the atmosphere. It is 
bevelled by these forces to a pei'fect level ; is of the fattest fertility, and 
drained through the porous formation- which underlies it. 

From this crater to its southern rim, a distance of sixty-five miles, the 
Pare expands over a prodigious pedrigal, formed from it in the jjeriod of 
volcanic activity. This pedrigal retains its level, and is perforated by the 
Rio del Norte, whose longitudinal course is confined in a i:)rofound chasm 
or caiion of perpendicular walls of lava, increasing to the depth of 1200 
feet, where it debouches from the jaws of this gigantic flood of lava, near 
the village of La Joya, in New Mexico. 

Such are the extraordinary forms and stupendous dimensions with 
which nature here salutes the eye and astonishes the imagination. The ex- 
pansion of the lava is all to the south, following the descent toward the sea. 
Toward the north, repelled by the ascent, are waves demonstrating the 
defeated efibrt to climb the mountain base. 

Such is an imperfect sketch of this wonderful amplutheatre of the Sier- 
ras. Its jihysical structure, infinitely complex, exhibiting all the elements 
of nature piled in contact, yet set together in order and arranged in har- 
mony ; its cloud-compelling Sierras, of stern primeval matter and pro- 
portions ; its concave basin of fat fertility ; its atmosphere of dazzling 
brilliancy, tonic temperature, and gorgeous tints ; its arable and pastoral 
excellence, grand forests, and multitude of streams ; its infinite variety of 
mines and minerals, embracing the whole catalogue of metals, rocks, clays, 
salts, and fuel ; its capacity to produce grain, flax, wool, hides, vegetables, 
fruits, meat, poultry, and dairy food ; the compact economy of arrange- 
ment which blends and interfuses all these varieties ; these combine to pro- 
voke, stimulate, and reward the taste for physical and mental labor. 

Entrance and exit over the rim of the pare is everywhere made easy by 
convenient passes. Roads re-enter upon it from all points of the com- 
pass and every portion of the surrounding continent. These are not ob- 
structed at any season. 


On the north is the Puncho Pass, leading to the Upper xirkansas River, 
and into the South Pare. On the east^ the Moscha and Sangre de Cristo 
Passes debouch immediately upon the Great Plains. On the soutlt, is the 
channel of the Rio del Norte. On the tcest^ easy roads diverge to the 
rivers Chamas, San Juan, and toward Arizona. In the northwest the 
Cocha-to-pee opens to the Great Salt Lake and the Pacific. Convenient 
thoroughfares and excellent roads converge from all points, and diverge 
with the same facility. 

The system of the four pares, extending to the north, indefinitely ampli- 
fies and repeats all that characterizes the San Luis Pare. Smaller in size 
and less illustrated by variety, each one of the three by itself lingers be- 
hind the San Luis, but is an equal ornament in the same family. Their 
graceful forms, their happy harmony of contact and position, make their 
aggregated attractions the fascinating charm and glory of the American 

The abundance and variety of hot springs, of every modulation of tem- 
perature, is very great. These are also equalled by waters of medicinal 
virtues. It has been the paradise of the ahoriginal stock, elsewhere so 
abundant and various. Fish, water-fowl, and birds of game and song and 
brilliant plumage frequent the streams and groves. Animal life is infi- 
nite in quantity and abundantly various. 

The Atmospheric currents, which sweep away every exhalation and 
all traces of malaria and miasma, have an undeviating rotation. These 
currents are necessarily vertical in direction and equable in force, alter- 
nating smoothly as land and sea currents of the tropical islands of the 
ocean. The silence and serenity of the atmosphere are not ruffled ; the 
changing temperature alone indicates the motion of nature. 

All around the eZfop^tcaZ circumference of the plain, following, as it were, 
its shore, and bending with the indented base of the mountains, is an un- 
interrupted road of unparalleled excellence. This circuit is five hundred 
miles in length, and is graced with a land-scape of uninterrupted grandeur, 
variety, and beauty. 

On the one hand the mountains, on the other hand the concave plain 
diversified with groves of alamos and volcanic cerritos. At short inter- 
vals of five or ten miles asunder, are crossed the swift running currents 
and fertile meadows of the converging mountain streams. ITot springs 
mingle their w^arm water with all these streams, which swarm with delicate 
fish and water-fowl. 

The works of the beaver and otter are everywhere encountered, and 
water-power for machinery is of singularly universal distribution. Agri- 
cidture classifies itself mto pastoral and arable; the former subsisting on 


the perennial grasses ; the hitter upon irrigation everywhere attained uy 
the streams and artificial azcijuias. 

This concave configuration and symmetry of structure is remarkably 
propitious to economy of labor and production, favored by the juxtaposi- 
tion and variety of material, by the short and easy transport, and by the 
benignant atmosphere. 

The supreme excellence of position, structure, and productions thus 
grouped within the system of the Parcs op Colorado, occupying the 
heart of the continental home of the American people, is conclusively dis- 
cernible. Here is the focus of the mountains, of the great rivers, and 
of the metals of the continent. 

The great rivers have Jicre their extreme sources, w^hich interlock and 
form innumerable and convenient })a8ses from sea to sea. From these they 
descend smoothly to both oceans by continuous gradations. The i)arcs 
occupy the fortieth degree, and offer the facilities for a lodgment in force, 
at the highest altitude. Here the sujireme divide of the continent exists, 
half-way between the trough of the Mississijipi and the Pacific shore. 
Being immediately approachable over the Great Plains, their mines of 
precious metals are the nearest in the world to the social masses of the 
American people and to their great commercial cities. Their accessibility 
is perfect. 

All the elements of a perfect economy, food, health, geographical posi- 
tion, innumerable mines of the richest ores and every variety, erect, assist, 
and fortify one another. Within and around this pare, so grand in dimen- 
sions and harmonious in structure and locality, is preparing itself the 
mining laboratory of the world. 

The rare economy in architecture, climate, inter-oceanic convenience, 
prolific food, miscellaneous niateiials and metals, constitute and locate here 
the paragon indeed of all geographical positions. 

The San Luis Pare has ticenty-four thoiDiand population. These people 
are of the Mexican- American race. Since the conquest of Cortez, a.d. 
1520, the Mexican people have acquired and adopted the language, and in 
modified forms, the political and social systems of their European rulers. 
A taste for seclusion has ahvays characterized the ahorighial masses, height- 
ened by the geographical configuration of their peculiar territory. 

Upon the Plateau, elevated 7000 feet above the oceans, and encased 
within an uninterrupted barrier of snow, reside 9,000,000 of homogeneous 
people. An instinctive terror of the ocean, of the torrid heats and mala- 
rious atmosphere of the narrow coast on either sea, perpetually haunts the 
natives of the Plateau. 

To them navigation is unknown, and maritime life is abhorrent. The 


industrial energies of the people, always active and elastic, and always 
recoiling from tlie sea, have expanded to the north, following the longi- 
tudinal direction of the great rivers. This column of "progress advances 
from south to north ; it ascends the Rio Bravo del Norte ; it has reached 
and permanently occupies the southern half of the San Luis Pare. 

At the same moment the column of the American people, advancing in 
force across the middle belt of the continent, from east to tcest, is solidly 
lodged upon the eastern flank of the Cordillera, and is everywhere enter- 
ing the pares through its passes. 

These two American populations, all of the Christian faith, here meet 
front to front, harmojiize, intermarry, and reinvigorate the blended mass 
with the peculiar domestic accomplishments of each other. 

The Nexican contributes his primitive skill, inherited for centuries 
M'ithout change, in the manipulations of pastoral and mi'm^y industry, 
and in the tillage of the soil by artificial irrigation. The American adds 
to these machinery and the intelligence of expansive progi-ess. The grafted 
stock has the sap of both. 

As the coming continental railways hasten to bind together our people 
isolated on the seas, A longitudinal railway of 2000 miles will unite 
with these in their middle course, bisecting the Territory, States, and cities 
of 10,000,000 of affiliated people. This will fuse aud harmonize the iso- 
lated populations of our continent into one people, in all the relations of 
commerce, affinity, and concord. 

NO in II 

'Icliiu-.ilnio llu- 


niE ISO rilKIHL lA . LV/.V oi IXTKXSir^ 

mill its rxpiiiisuins lip niiil ilown lilt- 
ed IM.ATKAr ^ 




To the American who nssemhles tvithiii his mental glance every detail of 
our entire country, from a position correctly selected and rightly under- 
stood, a vision of unparalleled splendor is unveiled. 

There is revealed to him a nascent supremacy over all things that are 
passed, an ascendency to which futurity can evolve no hopeful rival. 

It is here that the pre-eminently divine gifts, vouchsafed to the Ameri- 
can People by God through Nature, speak out and enforce from every 
heart a pious prayer of thanksgiving. 

Here are united, in special magnitude, a variety of new powers and fresh 
forces. All of these combine to dictate, and are auspicious to, the struc- 
ture of a political society^ of vast dimensions, upon the highest level 
attainable by energetic intelligence, — order and mental culture. 

Eminent among these gifts is Thermal Science. 

If a navigator, in the mid-ocean and beneath the equator, shall ascend 
vertically into the atmosphere, as in a balloon, he will experience a fall of 
one degree of annual mea)i heat, as evidenced by the thermometer, at the 
altitude of 259 feet. 

At or about an altitude of 20,000 feet, he will find the temperature of 
pei'petual zero, where animal life and vegetation cease. 

If he shall then Aveigh anchor and sail along a meridian line to the 
north pole, it will be necessary to traverse a full degree of latitude, 69^ 
miles, to experience along the sea-surface the same reduction of heat as 
has been encountered at 259 feet of t'erticaZ altitude. 

We Avill learn from these facts the special combinations of climatic 
■ changes peculiar to and peculiarly favorable to North America. 

One who travels by a meridian line along the concave of the great cal- 
careous plain, from Cuba to the Arctic Sea, crosses in regular succession 
the sugar belt, the cotton belt, the belt of Indian corn, hemp, tobacco, 
cattle, and swine, the wheat belt, oats, rye, roots, the grasses, and barley. 
At length, the perpetual Arctic frosts stop all vegetation, all culture, and 
consequently all habitation. Such are the palpable changes ascribable to 



latitude, ■upon the continental area of small altitude above tlie sea, and 
within the maritime climates. 

If the same traveller, facing to the left at the 40th degree of latitude, 
adhering to this line, climbs the gradual ascent of the Great Plains, sur- 
mounts the Snowy Northern Andes, and reaches the Pacific Ocean, 
he encounters a similar succession of belts of vegetation and animal life, 
greatly compressed in arrangement, and ascribable to increasing vertical 

Thermal Science, assisted by its handmaid meteorology, explains for 
us the atmospheres which successively envelop the globe of the earth 
outside, handles them, and fixes them without obscurity. 

The globe is closely enveloped by a shell of water, as the pulp of an 
orange by its rind, through which the continents and islands elevate and 
protrude themselves. This is the aqueous atmosphere. Visible to the 
eye, dense and viscid, the kange of its elasticity is measured by the sur- 
face undulations, by the disturbances caused by winds and cyclones, and 
by the rise and fall of the tides against its shores. 

Enveloping this, and external to it, is the aerial atmosphere. This is 
invisible to the eye, and highly elastic. Into it ascend the vapors ex- 
haled from the surface of the sea and the laud. These vapors, variously 
condensed, float through this atmosphere in the form of clouds, and thus 
reveal themselves to vision. 

At an altitude of 4000 feet this aerial atmosphere terminates, being 
as the second rind of an orange enveloping and external to the first. It 
ceases here as absolutely as does the aqueous atmosphere under our feet. 

External to the aerial, and similarly enveloping it, is the ethereal 
atmosphere. This has the position and similitude of a third rind to an 
orange. Here the region of space is approached, where animal life, vege- 
tation, and clouds cease to exist. 

Physical geography defines those portions of the earth's surface within 
the aericd atmosphere, to possess a maritime climate ; those portions 
within the ethereal atmosphere to possess a continental climate. 

It is in the neighborhood of the 102d meridian, the eastern boundary 
of Colorado, where the altitude of 4000 feet is attained and the region of 
the continental climate is approached and entered. It is clear, then, that 
the whole prodigious system of the North American Andes is within 
the ethereal atmosphere, and in the region of the continental climate. 

Upon the region of the piedmont which extends eastward from the 
abrupt base of the Cordilleras, are discernible counterpart phenomena as 
occur upon the shores of the oceans and illustrated by their tides. 

The highly elastic aerial atmosphere is sometimes, by external pressure, 


flooded up to the very base of the Cordillera. This causes the concave 
surface of the ethereal atmosphere, also highly elastic, to ascend. Alter- 
nately, the aerial atmosphere ebbs back to its normal level. Thus is 
experienced, within this margin, embracing the conjunction of these two 
atmospheres, an alternate play, as in depressed lands which are overflowed 
and then left dry by the tides of the sea. 

We have seen that the North American Andes are longitudinal in their 
direction, receiving favorably the heating power of the sun on all their 
flanks and every summit. The outflanking Cordilleras exalt their su- 
preme heads above the line of perpetual frost. They winnow from the 
air all the vapors of the 7«ariVt»ic world, and totally exclude their entrance 
within, on to the Plateau. Carbonic acid, hydrogen, nitrogen, are left 
below. Pungent, tonic, health- and life-bestowing oxygen remains to 
possess unadulterated and supreme dominion. 

These favorable modifications of the thermal laws, acting locall//, but 
over a stupendous area, give and combine warmth, dryness, a diminution 
of atmospheric pressure, a sun never clouded, serenity, and profuse arbo- 
rescencc and vegetation. 

These influences are expanded up and down the protected Plateau : they 
overleap the narrow limits which elsewhere restrict ihn isothermal zodiac: 
they push the favorable conditions of the isothermal AXIS, to the north 
and to the south, i\p and down the Plateau, in both directions, to its ex- 
tren)e limits. 

A sublime architecture acts through the vision. It exalts the heart 
and refines the taste of man. Nature is graceful, winning, and uninter- 
ruptedly friendly in every feature. Now the vertical thermal belts, side 
by side with the horizontal belts, compressed as a rainbow, are joined, and 
the two thermal scales blend their areas. They expand from one another, 
augmenting manifold the auspicious thermal varieties. 

The stupendous mountain mass is elevated above the maritime and 
into the ethereal atmosphere. The battlements and summits present con- 
secutively every front to the morning, to the meridian, and to the de- 
scending sun. The fire of the sun perpetually pours down his heat through 
the pungent air and unclouded canopy. This warmth condenses and 
exerts a favorable power round the year. 

The area of most auspicious isothermal warmth is here expanded to the 
most immense dimensions and comprehensive variety. The surface is 
most favorably undulating. It is burnished with dissolving colors of the 
richest hues, and checkered with bewitching scenery. 

The latitude is most favorable. The longitude is equally so. From 
this centre all the grand rivers radiate and descend uninterruptedly to all 



the circumfluent oceans, everywhere concealed from sight beyond the 
encircling horizon. 

All inhahitahle altitudes succeed one another. They are gracefully 
blended and conibined, as are the streaks of the rainbow. They imme- 
diately touch and rest upon one another. All altitudes are equally open 
for individual election. 

This sj)lendid structure and these prolific gifts are prophetic of a so- 
ciety .inspired by mental energies of the highest standard and reinforced 
with impregnable power. 

Here is discernible a trenchant contrast and deficiency in architectural 
economy. The European basins of the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the 
Pontic and Propontic have their calcareous bottoms buried, as in a 
tomb, beneath a sterile salt expanse. The intervening and rugged moun- 
tain lands only are left dry and inhabitable. This latitudinal expanse 
of sea, prolonged from Gibraltar to the Caucasus, incorrigibly isolated 
Europe from tropical Africa. This latter and neighboring continent has 
remained thus cut off, unused and undeveloped. 

The people of the nortliern shore circumnavigate the globe to bring 
their groceries from the Oriental and Western Indies. 

The thermal latos have here operated since the birth of time with un- 
relenting hostility, and superadded their blasting power to the unfriendly 
anatomy of the land and water. 

In America, the prolonged Plateau surrounds .and envelops the Mex- 
ican and Caribbean Seas. It carries the isothermal warmth and railways 
into the very nest of tropical productions. Thus the widest extremes 
are propitiously combined in a single neighborhood and united in one 
domestic home. 

A special feature of this vast expanse within the continental climate is 
'pastoral agriculture. Here the dryness and the unfailing sunshine curl 
the grasses into hay upon the ground where they grow. Preserved thus 
from decay, they furnish lointer food, dispensing with the labor of harvest. 

For arable culture, which has the highest grade of excellence and the 
widest range in quality, variety, and quantity, a corresponding economy 
is discernible in the universal necessity and use of artificial irrigation. The 
waters, coming from the snows, descend from above. Labor is not har- 
assed by mud or by the hostile interruptions incidental to a fickle canopy. 
The sloping surfaces of land and water are neighborly and friendly to each 
other: this relation is continuous from the highest altitude to the seas. 

All civilized populations have been intensely sensitive to climatic 
power, and instinctively oblique from excessive heat, cold, and damp. 

The latitudinal backbone which bisects the Asiatic-European continent 


from east to iced receives the heating power of the &un, and all of it, 
upon its southern slope alone. 

The northern slope, assigned to perpetual shade, receives as perpetu- 
ally, without mitigation, the hyperborean rigor. The animating sun-heat, 
which is concentrated and condensed without the concave amphitheatre of 
North America, is here scattered and dissipated by a hostile convex roof. 
The omnipotent power of the benignant thermal forces is here universally 
negative, chilling, and hostile. 

The mental forces and speculations of the antique loorld have been ex- 
clusively restricted to the contemplation o^ ingniy states. The anarchy of 
force has uniformly accompanied a convex geography of incoherent frag- 
ments. A sour, saturated soil ; a dismal atmosphere exclusively maritime ; 
a febrile thermal condition ; monotony : all these have incubated over 
society universally and with unrelieved perpetuity. Society, dwarfed by 
the absence of any generous inspirations, has been sluggish and vegetated 
without elasticity. 

Political and .social science have found it impossible to have birth. 
To the American, experiences sought for and derived from the antique 
icorld are deceptive, sombre, and discouraging. War, monarchy, and sub- 
missive multitudes only are seen. Civil liherty has never permanently 
established itself. Societies have gTown to be polished and enervated 
without emerging from semi-savage barbarism. 

There is discernible in the temper of the generation of our statesmen 
who are now passed away, and who have seen our country saddened by civil 
strife, an idolatrous adulation of Europe; a proclivity to view with trepida- 
tion and to dwarf the aspiring genius and elastic energies of the pioneer 
people. To bridle the continental mission of the North American people 
and curb it to the sway and dimensions of the Atlantic shore., to restrict 
it to this geographical selvage^ has not ceased to be a cherished policy 
with them. 

The grand North American Andes, and the noio to vs domestic Pacific 
Ocean, have received only fiiint appreciation and acknowledgment ; post- 
poned in development from insufficient and stingy legislation or by un- 
fricjidhj silence. 

Thermal Science, coming to be rightly understood and to be ac- 
cepted, offers itself to correct the general judgment and to rectify and re- 
inforce the conquering forces of sound progress. The grand pioneer army., 
having solidly established its lodgments around the whole encii-cling rim 
of oxir national territory, gathers its columns faces inwards, assumes a 
concentric movement, departs from the seas and from river-lines to con- 
verge on the centre. These columns unite by their flanks. They per- 


petually increase in numbei'3, pressure, and activity. The instinct of 
gravitation, enlightened by THERMAL SCIENCE, gains velocity, steadi- 
ness, and victory without tumult. 

The traces of geographical anarch^/ abate rapidly. They are about 
finally to be extinguished forever, by the ripening movement which will 
soon re-annex to us the area of the IMcxican Republic, on the one flank ; 
the whole area of the Canadas, on the other flank. 

All that is necessary for this achievement, long in preparation, ap- 
proaches its aceomplishniont. To fold to txs these domestic wings', too long 
stretched out and segregated from us, will fill out to the ocean bounds, 
and occupy through all its solid dimensions, as well the stupendous 
architecture of our country as the perfectly graceful anatomy of its 
compact expanse. 

It is the discovery of inexhaustible precious metals within a propitious 
thermal zone that gives perpetual success to the GtOLD Fever. This 
defines itself as " the indefinite supply of sonnd money for the people, 
by their own individual and voluntary labor." This is the discovery of 
the profound want and necessity of human society. It is the final and 
exhausting solution of the heretofore enigmatical question, " What is 
the function and what is the power of finance in hiiman organized socie- 
ties ?" The FINANCIAL PROBLEM, essential to the healthy growth of every 
other problem in the scheme of civilization, is revealed, identified, and 

The land, area of the Territory of Colorado is 75, C 00,000 of acres. To 
reduce this area to use and private possession requires $100,000,000 to 
be paid by the people to the Federal government. This immense sum is 
wrung from the meritorious and self-sacrificing labor of the pioneers — it 
is all carried forth and disbursed elsewhere. This is a cjahel tax ; uncon- 
stitutional, accumulative over all other taxes, crippling, and atrocious. If 
this sum may be retained among those who pay it, the gain will be to 
them $200,000,000. It may be retained to reinforce and enhance the 
creative power of the pioneer army. 

If the State of Colorado, and other similar Territories, be sanctioned and 
self-government established, this may with ease be achieved. Let the 
system of laud surveys and the price be untoxiched, hut the payments 
enter the State treasury. The disbursements shall be restricted to the 
constriiotion of a complete net-work of railways ; to universal and per- 
petual education ; and to fit the lands for the production of food, by 
canals of irrigation and drainage. 

Within the State^ integrity will be sternly enforced. These generous 
liuhlic benefits will be paid for and constructed by the people themselves. 


They will be perpetually owned by, and used and guarded for and under 
the will and supervision of, the people. 

Thus universal railways come into existence. The lands are universally 
cultivated. TransjDortation and travel fuse nations and populations. 
Civilization and civic order and civic discipline, for all, becomes possi- 
ble and erects itself. It maintains universal authority and power. Lahor 
equitably rules itself and the political and financial rohher is permanently 

This public policy will combine idle populations and idle lands, to 
mutually employ each other and to fire up the stagnant torpidity of both. 
It may be transplanted into Siberia and into all the continents and islands 
of the seas. 

Military organization^ essentially monarchical and which but partially 
embraces or employs a whole population, will go out of existence. 

Industrial organization, which employs all labor, uniformly and 
continually, will displace and supersede it. 

Behold, then, in the novel and auspicious thermal splendor of North 
America, united with its PHYSICAL CONFIGURATION and POSITION, the 
birth of neio and overwhelming powers and fresh forces ! 

The existence of these, or their combination, has heretofore been im- 
possible or unthought of in human experience. These fresh powers and 
forces suddenly unveil themselves, ferment and modify all societies and 
reverse their fronts. They dictate a cosmopolitan comity and assume an 
overwhelming sway. 

By the Land System, the idle lands throughout the world are meas- 
ured oflF in the small. They are made attainable for starving multitudes 
and oppressed laborers. An avarice for the possession and conversion 
of them to use in this form is Mndled throughout all populations. 

The Gold Fever is the indefinite production of sound money by the 
individxial and voluntary labor of the people. This is free money ; the 
multiplication of money caj^itals in the small, independent and individual 
in form, abundant in quantity, and prospectively indefinite. 

Grovernment credit, rightly understood, reduced to discipline and am- 
plified universally, becomes available to combine and utilize these popular 

The California Gold Fever had its invention and birth in 1848. I<. 
has in a decade of years transplanted itself to Australasia and to Pike's 
Peak. It has permeated mankind as an electric fluid, to animate, to 
regenerate, to exalt humanity. It permanently fortifies progress with 
impregnable power and activity. 

Its inspiring democratic genius has, within a quarter of a century, 



covered the continents witt railways and witli telegraphs. It economizes 
navigation by its reduction to steam ferries upon the oceans and tele- 
graphic cables upon its profound bed. 

Immortal railways extend themselves, to become a universal system, over 
all the land of the globe ! The dwarfing power, the waste, the piratical 
temper, the monopoly of sea navigation is at an end. Its despotism and 
arrogance over the rural populations is absorbed and reversed. 

We have seen the energies of the American people, bringing into line 
and into use these new powers^ span their continent with the Pacific 
Railicay, as with the rapidity of lightning from a mountain cloud. 

Availing themselves of the favorable thermal warmth upon the Plateau, 
and upon the immediate sea-coasts, bathed by the Asiatic Gulf Stream 
(the Suro-Siwo), they will continue to expand their work to Behring's 
Straits, where all the continents are united. 

This will prolong itself along the similarly propitious thermal selvage 
of the Oriental Russian coasts, into China. 

To prolong this unbroken line of Cosmopolitan Railways along 
the latitudinal Plateau of Asia, to Moscow, to Berlin, to Paris, to 
Madrid, and to London, will not have long delay. 

The less significant and isolated continents of the Southern Hemi- 
sphere — South America, Africa, and Australasia — will be reached by 
feeders through Panama, Suez, and the chain of Oriental peninsulas 
and islands. The whole area and all the populations of the globe will be 
thus united and fused by land travel and by railways. 

Behold what a short quarter of a century in time has sufficed to 
originate and accomplish, in an age awakened and armed with the subtle 
democratic power of free and abundant gold ! 

What celerity of motion ! What vivacity of progress ! What victo- 
rious, what triumphant, what sublime energies ! What works of magni- 
tude ! How benignant to mankind ! How prophetic of the future ! 
How charitable to universal humanity ! 



Power is strength. " The practice of virtue and energy always in 
exercise'^ is oracular REPUBLICAN POWER. 

Original forces, strong, varied, and numerous, characterize the American 
continent and people. These forces, combined by an exact discipline, free 
from mutiny, and handled with ever-vigilant valor, rectitude, and wisdom, 
invest them with a supreme conquering ^o^(;er. 

On page 44 has been said : "2b command the gold and silver produc- 
tion of the xcorld, and to combine this with an intelligent policy, is to rnle 
the world. The present ability of the American people to do this will 
become manifest so soon as the geography of the North American Con- 
tinent shall become correctly understood by them, and its economical de- 
velopment be made a systematic policy. 

" A few standard facts in physical geography and geology being cur- 
rently grafted in to guide the popular mind, the ease with which the people 
of America will rise to the pinnacle of power and empire, and the necessity 
incumhent upon them to do so, become both simple and luminous of com- 

The American people have established for themselves (hy right and 
not by concession) universal mcde suflFrage, universal education, universal 
religion, universal labor, universal gold. They have also one universal 
language. '^ 

These stupendous forces of civilization hourly expand. They gain 
elasticity, co-operation, perpetuity. Peace and progress accompany them. 

The pioneer army of the people advances with miraculous celerity, 
order, and self-discipline. Incredible conquests are achieved. In number, 
two millions strong, self-governed, self-fed, self-armed, self-commanded, it 
plants empire in the wilderness by a system of colonization at once perfect 
and inscrutable. It moves with the steadiness, weight, and forward 
pressure of an ocean. 

One thousand each day, three hundred thousand annually, of the 
selected and able-bodied laborers of the external continents, land upon 
our coasts. These displace our own people, who perpetually move up to 
recruit and reinforce the pioneers. 


100 POWER. 

The pioneer army is not deficient in any arm, or in any kind of equip- 
ment. The construction of railways accompanies and keeps up even 
witli its front. Each year witnesses the foundation of a new State ; eacli 
month beholds the location of a new city site. The work of organization 
and of building is commenced and proceeds undisturbed. 

Neither blunders, nor cessation of motion, nor tumult, arc ever seen. 
Society, in all its elements, corrects, transplants, and expands itself. It 
is neither broken asunder, nor detached. 

Its purity is reinvigorated and sustained ; its lands and atmosphere are 
fresh. Household ties and social and political bonds are enlarged, but 
remain undisturbed. 

All movements result in an intensely accumulating volume and con- 
solidated strength. The temper and discipline of action and of modera- 
tion are unruffled and unrclaxed. 

To the American who visits the British Isles for curiosity and obser- 
vation, an astonishing spectacle is revealed. He encounters, in severe 
disproportion, glittering wealth contrasted by appalling poverty and 

These small islands, begirt and isolated \)j the seas, contain tiuenty-tliree 
millions of people, confined like bees within a hive, and similarly in 
motion. Like bees, they depart from home, swarm over the world and 
bring back its Iwncy. 

To reach India and return, they four times cross the equatorial heats, 
twice double the Antarctic capes, and circumnavigate the globe. At this 
extreme distance, they hold under military and industrial j^'^onage tivo 
hundred millions of laboring people. 

To this is due their dictatorial control over the Oriental nations, over 
the Oriental labor and commerce, and over the resulting transportation 
upon all the oceans. 

Within the British Isles, the machine force, chiefly steam, is equal to 
the labor of six hundred millions of men, working ten hours each day, 
round the year! Neither meat, cereals, nor forage are consumed, but only 

Within the hoiyie area, this stupendous machine force is systematized 
and brought into co-opei'ation hj a net-work of railways; It is prolonged 
over all the oceans, and penetrates to every extremity of the land, by a 
marine of steam and sailing ships. 

It is thus explained why and how British POWER consumes the wealth, 
the liberties, and the labor of India ; why it has lately menaced the 
absorption of still more populous China. How activity is multiplied by 
machine force i^iaybethus illustrated: In 1832, the aggregate passengers 

PO WEE. 101 

moved in the city of New York was 170,500. In 1872, the aggregate 
has been sixty-one millions. In Philadelphia, tliirty-seven millions ! 

But in the British Isles is an area of land restricted to pigmy dimen- 
sions ; insufficient bread ; no production of groceries ; no raw material of 
cotton ; no ores, except tin and iron ; exhausted fuel ; a population parar 
lyzcd by want ; unable to labor ; no room ; no elasticity ; no democratic 
vigor possible. Railways are incapable of extension beyond her shores. 
Sterile seas isolate her from all her colonies, and from what employs the 
labor of, and feeds, her home population. 

This prosperity and this power is artificial. It rests on a variety of 
foundations alarmingly fickle and perpetually shifting. It is maintained 
by exhausting waste of its own forces, especially human labor. 

Splendid as is the British Empire, America hastens to ascend over and 
to absorb it. 

It is the object of these pages to bring into relief and to gain recogni- 
tion for the facts and forces of our domestic America in geography, in 
society, and in politics. To inflame the popular taste for their apprecia- 
tion ; their unanimous use ; their exaltation. To make clear the magni- 
tude, the beauty, the grace, the fitness for perpetual unity and concord, of 
the sublime architecture, and of the perfect anatomy of our Continental 

It is not invidious to glance the eye over the pigmy, states that checker 
Asia and Europe. Each one is stagnant, devoid of inherent elasticity, 
and denied any margin of expansion. Expatriation, or the slaughter of 
war, alone fans hope. 

To attain the level of polished barbarism in society, military despotism 
in politics, and then decay ; exhaust the vicious rotation of their revolu- 
tions, their hopes, and their fortunes. The possibilities of progress are 
negative, stingy, and illusory. 

For tis, wanton wars of slaughter, arson, and rapine have ceased. In- 
dnstrial energy assumes supreme sway, and — prescribing organization and 
discipline — acquires the ascendency to forestall and to dethrone the anarchy 
and atrocious waste of wanton war. 

Who can behold, without intense chagrin, the obscene tragedies of two 
decades, enacted around Sebastopol, around Richmond, and around Paris ? 
Cities destroyed ; states and their populations incarnadined in their own 
blood ; the gates of Janus thrown wide open ; those of mercy shut upon 
the world ! 

In contrast are arrayed the benignant works of the pioneer army of the 
people. An empire of fresh and free States created and expanded from 
the Mississippi to the Pacific sea ; cities built ; works of unparalleled gran- 

102 PO WER. 

dour and utility erected and completed ; the Oriental population summoned 
and vuhmtarilj/ accepting fraternal affiliation ; a resounding and elastic 
commerce spread broadcast over the Pacific sea, heretofore silent. Man- 
kind is enriched Avith gold, and is everywhere reinforced with wealth, 
credit, hope, and resolution. 

Such are the charitable and resplendent conquests won by the aggre- 
gated forces and energies of a continental people, all individually free, inde- 
})endent, and self-governed. Such are the incalculable fortunes which 
now gestate upon the arena of the American continent, secure in health- 
ful unity, magnitude, and perpetuity ! 

l\)\VEil and universal Progress come united and together into the 
possession and guardianship of the American people. They ai'e rectified, 
co-operate and concjuer. Humanity throughout the world, cheered by 
example and its reflection, unfolds the wings of progress without trepidation. 

It bounds onward fearless, intrepid, and successful. It pushes out of 
sight every restricting horizon. It revels and exults over an unlimited 
arena, to which wise cliarity, benevolence, and courage refuse to assign a 
term ! 

Machine forces emanate from /ire intellect. They multiply and reflect 
back to it aggres>^irc arms and strength. They infuse themselves and per- 
meate everywhere, as an all-pervading niagnrfic essence. 

They unify and fuse mankind. They multiply the activity of all de- 
sirable relations, infinitely in volume and in strength. They exalt civili- 
zation. They generate elasticity, ambition, fire. They give lustre to the 
reinvigorated laror and industry of the world, with unlimited triumphs 
and conquests. 

The odious scission of men into aristocrats and ^^Icbcians disappears. 
Dependence becomes distasteful ; it ceases to be vohmtarily practiced or 
submitted to. Democratic socict}/ establishes itself upon the level of 
iiuivorsal patrician equality and patrician rights. These are unanimously 
accepted and maintained in practice. 

Famines, and the terror of famines, have ceased. Epidemic diseases 
are controlled, and their malignity extirpated. Charitable inventions 
multiply, because nittlfitudinons capitals of money in the small nrc enabled 
to purchase and enjoy them. 

Machine forces infinite in number, application, and capacity appear. 
The reaper, the sewing-machine, locomotion by steam, on land and water, 
cotton goods, give luxury, taste, and merited indulgence to the ilemocratic 
mnltitude. Gas, fuel, and machinery economize warmth, light, and water ; 
they spread unstinted enjoyment of them everywhere. Multiplied millions 
are provoked to travel. 

POWEIi. 103 

What alacrity, wliat elasticity, what vigor ! What stupendous new and 
fresh forces have been unveiled ! What inspired, what victorious, what 
conquering energies ! 

How generously is activity in each subtle atom of society reinforced ! 
What celerity of motion ! What vivacity of progress ! How charita- 
ble and auspicious are these gifts and discoveries to all humanity ! 

Strifes that have deformed society disappear. Rural intelligence and 
moderation resist successfully urhan rapacity. Aspei'ities are modified and 
conventionalities are, by mutual consent, arranged and accepted. With 
what ease do order and discipline assert themselves ! 

Power then assumes new features, enhanced dimensions, and increased 
sway. It is minute, active, and prompt to protect right and to restrain the 
vicious. The American people invest themselves with the creation 
and administration of Power. They use it without fear 'and without 
limit, and themselves control and moderate its exercise. 

They refuse tyrants, and with the same sternness refuse slaves. 

They found and perfect the policy of Peace, because Peace is more 
valuable and more enduring than the policy of War. 

The people and the activities of the continental and of the maritime 
climates, blended together, mutually reflect through and favorably stimu- 
late and modify one another. 

Let us recall again the sublime amphitheatre occupied by the Amer- 
ican people, impregnably set in the midst of all the pojiulations of the 
world, and environed all around by them. 

The compact insular form and concave structure of the continent ; the 
climatology, tenfold auspicious ; the graceful unity of the entire area, and 
its varied but uniform usefulness and fertility ; the intense economy in 
quality, in magnitude, and in proximity of contact : these are all the 
reverse of what is elsewhere found. 

It is possible, from this position, mentally, to look out over the globe of 
the earth, as a bright school-boy handles his cricket-ball ! 

Here is a capacity to produce and to supply the raw material, in every 
subtle variety, to employ the labor of all mankind, food to feed the 
world. The omnipotent and diversified power op democratic freedom, 
erected, codified, and perpetuated by itself, is here first seen in human 

Metaphysical politics and its rhapsodies are rejected by the American 
people. They carefully hive the results o^ physical science and of inductive 
reason. Fortified by discovered facts of experiment and example, these 
are unanimously cherished, relied on, and adhered to by them. Upon 
this basis, they successfully progress in the construction of empire. 

104 PO WEB. 

The retrospect over Europe is, for ^is, deceptive and treacherous. Insight 
into the interior system of continental China gradually reveals itself to us, 
and is understood. 

In Europe, military organization and force have always successfully 
held sway, and will continue to dominate and destroy. 

In China, civic organization, and a discipline of the national intellect 
by universal education, yield the grandest political results. Fifty centuries 
of accumulating gi'owth, and four hundred and fifty millions of homoge- 
neous population, — one-third of the human race, — attest the benign power 
of universal education, and the systematic utilization of ascertained merit. 

The basis of the Chinese is a fickle and vague literature, monotonous 
and sterile. Physical science has not been discovered by them, nor reached 
in practice. 

Intermediate between these ancient and imperfect societies, American 
society is fresh, pliant, and ductile. It commences its career upon a foun- 
dation of truths, discovered and accepted from nature. The hope of per- 
petuity is strong. Abundant precedents admonish what to accept and 
adopt — what to reject. 

Equilibrium among details, which is the essence of order among the 
forces of the xmiverse of nature, makes itself by degrees known to us, and 
is adopted in the self-adjustment of the department of human organization. 

Examples of what has been accomplished by liberty, under the spas- 
modic and imperfect opportunities (crippled by hostile geography and 
pigmy power) in the republics of antiquity, in China, and in modern 
England, predict the crowning mercy of. success to the American people. 

The pressure and drift sometimes vouchsafed to humanity by Almighty 
power, is with us and is favorable to us. 

Centralization, rightly understood and cleared of all sinister inter- 
pretation, will secure and protect society from mutiny and waste. 

Power, benignant power, inherent in, possessed, and administered by 
the people, will by cautious progression discover and 2iA]\\s,t\he equilibrium 
of forces. 

The empire of our continental geo^sci^\\.j ; the empire of our /?-ee people ; 
the empires of our political, of our social, and of our religious sentiment ; 
the empire of our industries ; for all of these will be found mutual con- 
cord , self-sustained : unlimited expansion : perpetual buoyancy, and perpet- 
ual life ! 

Thus wUl be corrected and closed the sanguinary gestations of the chaotic 
world behind us, from which we are born, and of which we are the healthy 
and gigantic ofispring. 



In the current of ages, mysteries become sciences. Vague speculation, 
long fermenting, and perplexed by obscure doubts, produces facts. These 
crystallize into precious truth. From the blind conjectures of Astrol- 
ogy has dawned the science of Astronomy ; from Alchemy has come 

The American people now reach and cross the threshold, where they 
emerge from the twilight of the futile world of thought behind. They 
enter into the full and perpetual light and promise o^ political and social 

A glance of the eye, thrown across the North American continent^ 
accompanying the course of the sun from ocean to ocean, reveals an 
extraordinary landscape. It displays immense forces, characterized by 
order, activity, and progress. 

The structure of nature — the marching of a vast population — the crea- 
tions of the people, individually and combined — are seen in infinite varieties 
of form and gigantic dimensions. Farms, cities. States, public works, 
define themselves, flash into form, accumulate, combine, and harmonize. 

The pioneer army perpetually advances, reconnoitres, strikes to the front. 
Empire plants itself upon the trails. Agitation, creative energy, industry, 
throb throughout and animate this crowding deluge. Conclusive occupa- 
tion, solidity, permanence, and a stern discipline, attend every movement 
and illustrate every camp. 

The American realizes that " Progress is God." He clearly recognizes 
and accepts the continental mission of his country and his people. His 
faith is impregnably fortified by this vision of power, unity, and forward 

As essential to all clearness of illustration, fimiliarity with the geog- 
raphy and pihysical structwe of the American continent seems to me 

Assuming the division of the Northern and Southern Continents to be 
at Panama, from the same point depart the northern and southern systems 
of the Andes. These two systems of mountains assume special forms of 



structure, each one corresponding with the anatomy of its own continent. 
They form the backbone of the skeletons upon which the continents are 
severally constructed. 

The Southern Andes, rising out of the ocean at Cape Horn, traverse 
without interruption from south to north the whole length of the conti- 
nent. They form a continuous escarpment not remote from the shore of 
the Pacific Ocean, and curving with its indentations. 

Approaching the equator, an expansion to the east forms the Peruvian 
Plateau, and is prolonged into the triangle of Brazil. The prolongations 
in this direction extend to the Atlantic, and separate asunder the radiant 
basins of the La Plata, Amazon, Orinoco, and Magdalena Rivers. The 
shape of the continent, enveloped all round by the sea, and that of the 
mountain system, are reciprocally fitted to each other. 

The Northern Andes, departing from Panama and contracted by the 
seas, traverse Central America to Tehuantepec. From hence, an immense 
expansion in width of the Northern Continent is accompanied by a cor- 
responding increase in the magnitude and altitude of the mountain 

An immense Plateau, flanked by the Cordilleras, expands from sea to 
sea. On the east the Cordillera of the Rocky Mountains rises flush from 
the shores of the Mexican Gulf. On the west the Cordillera Nevada 
rises from the shores of the ocean and the California Gulf. 

The Sierra Nevada, the Western Cordillera, like the Southern Andes, 
erects itself continuously from the Pacific Ocean, whose indented shore 
it accompanies to Behring Strait. 

The Eastern Cordillera obliques from the Mexican Gulf, where the 
latter is curved to the east by the immense increasing amplitude of the 
Northern Continent. This Cordillera is flanked henceforward along its 
base by the Mississippi basin, whose indented shore and plain it con- 
tinuously overlooks. 

In the neighborhood of the' 40tb degree of latitude, the maximum width 
of the Northern Continent is reached. This continent differs from the 
Southern in the intense magnitude of its anatomy. Its whole area, alike 
with each of its composing details, is thus magnified. The radiant basins 
of the Mississippi, the St. Lawrence, the Hudson's Bay and Athabasca, 
depart from it. The Northern Andes here attain a breadth of 1200 miles, 
and assume their most stupendous dimensions. They include many snowy 
sierras and a multitude of peaks. 

From this latitude of greatest expansion, the mountain system contracts 
towards the north : the Cordilleras converge at Behring's Strait as at 
Tehuantepec : they are again condensed into one. The system of the 


Northern Andes thus occupies and elevates itself above one-third of the 
area of North America. 

Defined by itself, it is a prolonged diamond-shaped parallelogram, faced 
on all points by the Cordilleras, longitudinal in position, GOOO miles in 
length, and 1200 in width. It has a direction from south-southeast to 
north-northwest. Similitude in anatomical structure therefore perfectly 
identifies the two continents. 

This similitude of profile holds equally between the two mountain 
systems. The Southern Andes exhibit in their course through Patagonia 
and Chili two summit ridges parallel and in close proximity. These 
diverge with the increasing width of the continent, and enclose the Pe- 
ruvian Plateau and its extensions into Bolivia and the elevated plains of 
New Grranada. The same peculiarity is seen in narrow Central America 
and the extension to the north. 

If, then, the imperfectly developed anatomy of a youth of five years 
be arranged side by side with that of his maturity at the age of thirty- 
five years, the relative resemblances and contrasts of South and North 
America in their whole anatomy will be familiarly illustrated. 

This simplicity of structure pervading the whole system, being held in 
the mind, it is manifest that the Cordillera of the Rocky Mountains is 
the stupendous dorsal foundation upon whose prodigious mass and solidity 
all the radiant limbs rest. From this, including the Alleghanies, they all 
radiate or depend as outliers. Into this they all ultimately group and 
condense themselves. 

This stupendous longitudinal Cordillera segregates the physical globe 
into two hemispheres. These two hemispheres present the basin of the 
Atlantic towards the rising sun, that of the Pacific towards the setting sun. 
Here is the supreme meridian altitude up to which the whole globe slopes ! 

To this crowning ridge human society, emerging from the two ocean 
basins, is at present climbing ; the two halves front face to face ; they 
march to meet — to unite and harmoni2;e over this summit ! 

We have seen that the American continent expands to its most com- 
plete dimensions and amplitude where it is traversed by the fortieth degree 
of north latitude. A symmetrical harmony, perfect in every detail, here 
characterizes all the departments of nature — an ample depth of seaboard 
on either ocean — the supreme expanse of the Mississippi Basin — its great 
confluent rivers — the grand width of the mountain Plateau, which here 
protrudes its extreme salient corners to the east and to the west — to this 
focal region it rises in altitude, mass, and dimensions, from every point of 
the continental horizon. It here displays over its area, and in the 
outflanking Cordilleras, a hundred snow-crowned peaks. 


Here arise in cloud-compelling majesty the continental pillars, Long's 
Peak and Pike's Peak, 150 miles apart ; through, the intermediate space 
traverses ihe fortieth degree of north latitude. From their summits depart 
the waters to seek the Asiatic and European seas. Hither the continental 
slopes mounting upwards from all the oceans converge and culminate : 
from hence all the descending waters radiate. 

Here, in the midst of the grand works of nature — multitudinous in 
variety, sublime in vastness, in order, and in beauty — are assembled all 
the natural gifts which human society needs, or may demand for the most 
complete development. Here the supreme Cordillera envelops in its folds 
a group of gigantic valleys known as the " System of the Pares of Colo- 
rado ^ 

Of all the gems displayed here and there in the physical varieties 
which checker the earth's surface, this group is the most gigantic in 
dimensions ; the most transcendently excellent in locality ; the most 
wonderful, curious, and attractive. 

The Parcs bestride the line of way-travel op mankind at 
a point op paramount control. 

Here meet and mingle mountains, plains, valleys, rivers, in confluent 
aflSuence, in immensity of proportions, order, and graceful forms. The 
pungent and tonic atmosphere preserves the highest standard of modera- 
tion and excellence round the year. The oceans are not far ofi", and are 
easily accessible over uniformly descending slopes. 

Pastoral agriculture, mining, arable agriculture, manufactures, com- 
merce — each of these has tho essential elements of a conquering power ; 
— they are here all blended, ea^-h self-supporting, and each stimulating all 
the rest. The aflluence of nature and the prolific generosity of her pro- 
portions are miraculous. 

The Parcs occupy, longitudinally, the centre of Colorado^ passing 
through and through, from south to north. The whole area of Colorado, 
107,000 square miles (70,000,000 acres), is so folded around them as to 
constitute their frame and envelope, incapable of being segregated from 

These Parcs, thus mounting from south to north, one upon the other, 
are 'of very nearly equal area. They are the San Luis, the South, the 
Middle, and the North Parcs. 

The elliptical area of the San Luis Pare is 18,000 square miles 
(11,520,000 acres). Their similarity one to another, as members of one 
family, is perfect. The internal details of structure, form, and scenery 
are infinitely variegated. Each one, examined by itself, seems to surpass 
the rest in eminent convenience and beauty. The climatic geniality of 


temperature and salubrity have not a single blemish. They perpetually 
prompt and stimulate mental energy and physical activity. 

I am struggling to nai-rate faithfully the homespun facts of nature : to 
exaggerate is far from my intention. The splendid magnitude of the 
architecture — the faultless proportions everywhere discernible — the grace- 
ful grouping of propitious and benignant elements — the far-searching 
vision and resplendent panorama — all these unite to reveal to the judg- 
ment that omnipotent nature here culiliinates her work, and has planted 
tlie life-giving heart of the terrestrial scheme. 

To illustrate this wonderful configuration, as with a model of di- 
minutive size, the Alps of Europe present an example. A spectator, 
from the supreme summit of the Helvetian Peaks, beholds radiating 
from his feet the diverging channels of the Po, the Rhine, the Rhone, 
and the Danube. As they depart, the small lake basins or pares of 
Geneva and Constance gather the drippings of the glaciers ; and the 
river basins open out to share between them the widening expanse of 
the continent. 

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea are visible towards Genoa — those 
of the Adriatic towards Venice. Biscay, and the German and Pontic 
Seas, are more remote. Within a horizon whose diameter is 300 miles, 
are, at present, congregated 45,000,000 of population, who occupy the 
river basins and the rugged ground. 

Since the wars of Julius Ctesar, the progress of the people within this 
area has been sluggish and painful ; civilization yet continues crepuscular, 
and its languid fire is maintained with difficulty. A hostile climatology, 
forever incubating upon nature and man, saddens labor, chills its elas- 
ticity, and stagnates hope. The evil passions of force and despair rule ; 
the energies of labor and virtue are crushed out by a perpetually cor- 
roding pressure. 

The incessant vapors fi'om the neighboring seas, brought in by every 
wind, bathe perpetually the mountain altitudes : these are thus encased 
to their very roots with unfathomable depths of ice, which never melts. 
The soil of Europe, saturated by chilling fogs, and veiled by them and 
by forests from the sun, is cold and sour — the atmosphere febrile and 
inimical to life. 

Seamed with mountain bones from toest to east — pinched in and trenched 
upon around its margin by the salt wastes of Biscay and the German 
Ocean — by the Baltic, the Mediterranean, and the Pontic Seas — Europe 
is a promontory pendent from the solid dimensions of Asia, having only 
one-sixth of its area. 

Its convex surface and ragged shores — its humid atmosphere — its large 


area, expanding from an edge of the temperate into the frigid zone of 
warmth : — ^these dwarf as well the industry as the mind of man. 

Asia and Europe present a continuous snow-crested wall, east and west, 
from China to Gibraltar, rising abruptly and not far removed from the 
southern seas. From this convex crest, to the north, descends as con- 
tinuously a hyperborean slope, withdrawn from the sun, and resting only 
within the oblique and chilling shadow of his rays. 

In contrast, the longitudinal direction and double structure of the 
North American Andes opens them to the directly searching and om- 
nipotent power of the meridian sun : their outward flanks receive the 
tempering glories of his morning and his evening beams. 

These old continents are, in their abstract form of structure, convex as 
the camel's hack. 

The Cordilleras of North America and their outliers, from north to 
south in direction and ranging round near the oceans, give to the con- 
tinent a vast and splendid concave structure. This incessantly receives 
and absorbs the direct solar rays. 

North America is a sublime amphitheatre, of gorgeous fertility and 
transcendent proportions. The vast surface of concentric basins is uni- 
formly calcareous — it is scarcely less in expanse of area, or more undu- 
lating, than the oceans. This comprehensive area, mellow and salubrious, 
is fattened everywhere, and refreshed by the soils abraded from the moun • 
tains. It may receive by immigration, and sustain without surfeit, the 
existing populations of the globe. 

Cumulative with this is the auspicious structure of the longitudinal 
Sierras. Where Colorado embraces and arches over the extreme salient 
corner of the Cordillera, is found the stupendous culmination in bulk and 
altitude of the mountains, of the valleys, of the running waters, and of 
the climatology of the whole continent. 

To this supreme apex the whole continent ascends, by easy gradations, 
from the trough of the Mississippi on the one hand, from the shores of 
the Pacific on the other hand. Here is the summit altitude of a stupen- 
dous cone of elevation, whose diameter has a foundation of 2000 miles. 

Into the summit area of this truncated cone of elevation are mortised 
to a profound depth the valleys which make up the " Si/stem of the Pares." 
These collect and send forth the fresh waters, like the arterial blood gath- 
ered and distributed from the human heart. 

From hence depart ten rivers : the North Platte, to the north ; the 
South Platte, to the northeast ; the Kansas, to the east ; the Arkansas 
and Canadian, to the southeast; the Rio Bravo del Norte, due south into 
the Mexican Grulf ; the San Juan, Eagle, and Grrand Colorado Rivers, to 


the southtvest, into the Gulf of California ; the Green River, to the 

The North Platte descends, without deflection, to the direct north for 
500 miles to receive the Sweetwater. From this point the water-channels 
of the Yellowstone, the Missouri, and the Saskatchewan form a continu- 
ous and easy gradation to Hadson^s Bay. Passing by the Green and 
Snake Rivers, where their extreme sources intersect, a similar continuous 
gradation is found out to the North Pacific. 

Thus, upon this mountain summit of Colorado, the ascending valleys 
converge as so many enormous wedges, ten in number, arranged with their 
points grouped in contact. 

The passes over the Sierras, at the prolonged extremities of these 
valleys, re-entering thus upon one another, are numerous and easy. They 
complete the through lines of passage across the continent. These make a 
convergence here, from the two fronts of the continent, resembling the 
globes of an hour-glass communicating through the stem which unites 

The miracle of these broadly expanded altitudes is their climatology. 
Altitude above the seas ; latitude and longitude ; seclusion from the seas ; 
combine to perfect the moderation in temperature, the dryness, the salu- 
brity, and the splendor of the atmosphere. 

The light and fire of the sun rule the day and night, the seasons, the 
tides, the vegetation of nature, life and death upon the land and in the 
sea. Isothermal science thus explains how the mind of man, in harmony 
with the supreme order of nature, intuitively adjusts itself to the revolu- 
tions of the sun and is tempered by his heat. 

The northern hemisj^here of the globe has around it all the continents 
of the laud, holding the diminished seas in the intervals between them. 
The races white in color inhabit and restrict themselves to a narrow belt 
or zodiac, girdling this hemisphere of the continents round and round. 

This belt straddles an axis of intensity whose annual mean temperature 
is 52 degrees of Fahrenheit : it has thirty degrees of breadth, being 
fifteen degrees to the south and fifteen degrees to the north of the axis. 
Incorrectly delineated on the miniature globes, this axis of intensity would 
correspond with the 40th degree of north latitude, and the zone of tem- 
perate warmth will embrace the belt of the globe fenced within the 25th 
and 55th degrees. 

But profound modifications of temperature are wrought by the alter- 
nating presence and special configurations of oceans and continents ; by 
the power of atmospheric and of ocean currents ; by the subtle forces of 
electricity, gravitation, and the mercurial gestations of nature. 


This axis of intensity is, therefore, an undulating line. It arches 
towards the equator, where it traverses the depths of the continent. It 
arches towards the north pole over the expanses of the oceans. Within 
this isothermal belt, and restricted to it, the column of the human family, 
with whom abides the sacred and inspired fire of civilization, accompany- 
ing the sun, has marched from east to west, since the birth of time. 

Uj)on this axis of intensity have been constructed the great primary 
cities, which have been from age to age the foci from which have radiated 
intellectual activity and power. Inwards, and converging upon this axis, 
have always pressed the periodical migratory and military movements of 
the human masses. 

These, recoiling alike from northern cold and from southern heats, seek 
instinctively a temperate and congenial warmth. 

Of this highly artificial and disciplined system of civilization we 
Americans form a part. It is transmitted from the very dawn of antiquity, 
and is inherited. History is the diary of its geographical progress, of its 
periods of brightness and obscurity, of its struggles and of its energies. 

When society has attained its largest numerical strength, accomplish- 
ing the highest level of intelligence and the longest duration, it is defined 
to be an emjnre. History occupies itself with the biography of these 
empires — their rise, culmination, and decadence. They form a succession 
along the undulating zone of the northern hemisphere of the globe, 
within the isothermal belt. They form within it a continuous zodiac from 
east to west. 

These empires are the Chinese, the Indian, the Persian, the Grecian, the 
Roman, the Spanish, the British, finally, the republican empire of the 
people of North America. 

These are the essential organizations which have received ; held intelli- 
gently for a few centuries each, the vestal torch of civilization ; perpetu- 
ated and transmitted it with more or less fidelity. / repeat again tJie 
fact, that this zone belts the globe around where the continents expand 
and the oceans contract : it undulates with the axis of warm temperature 
(52 degrees of mean heat) : it contains ninety-five one-hundredths of the 
white people of the globe, and all its civilization ! 

As a perpetual and instinctive pressure tends to condense population on 
to the isothermal axis, so it thins out and attenuates in vitality and num- 
bers — repelled by hostile heats on the one hand, and by cold on the other 
■ — until the edge is reached beyond which the white races make no perma- 
nent lodgment in either direction. 



On the Oriental slope of Asia, between the abrupt termination ol' the 
vast mountain bulk and the Eastern Ocean, is found an ample region 
where the whole width of the temperate zone invites and fuses popular 

This favored area is occupied by the Chinese, whose institutions 
exhibit a growth of development extending over five thousand years. 
Never seriously interrupted, progress has so perfected a homogeneous 
municipal system of laws and education, that 450,000,000 of population 
(double that of all Europe) are united in one harmonious political system 
in concord and tranquillity. 

But the western frontier of China is blockaded by the inhospitable 
mountain system which prolongs itself continuously from hence to West- 
ern Europe. The column of progress has recoiled abruptly from their 
inclement altitudes, and restricts itself to the narrow margin between their 
southern base and the raggedly indented sea-coast. 

Here the northern half, or semi-zone, of the isothermal belt, has been 
left unoccupied ; society is cut in half, crippled in territory, and fatally 
dwarfed in variety and numbers. It has vegetated without elasticity ; unin- 
telligent and sluggish. 

Everywhere pinched in or repelled by inland seas, the omvard pro- 
gress hence to the western shores of Europe, exhibits only transient exemp- 
tions from demoralization and disorder. Absorbed by the sterile areas of 
the Persian Gulf, the Pontic, Propontic and Mediterranean Seas, land in 
the southern half of the isothermal zone is here either totally wanting, 
or the water surface is only freckled by a stingy succession of peninsulas 
and small islands, inhabited in broken links. 

If, then, the area occupied by China be alone excepted, the narrow and 
hostile geographical structure of the margin along which the column of 
society has struggled through Asia and Europe, explains its slow, embar- 
rassed, and fitful advance. 

The small empires which have partially ripened have been distorted in 
form, short-lived ; disordered by anarchy ; heterogeneous and confused in 

8 113 


elements. In Asia they appear emasculated by the loss of the northern 
temperate semi-zone ; in Europe, \sy a counterpart deficiency of the 
southern semi-zone. 

As the great ocean chafes perpetually, and tortures itself among the 
narrow seas, only to become crippled in power and turbid in color and 
temper : so, a similar acrid turbulence, and loss of the inspiring instincts 
of power and of moderation, have characterized the mutilated society 
cramped in along the line of march through Southern Asia and the south 
and west of Europe. 

The sanguinary incubation of military despotisms over multitudinous 
millions of passive and unchronicled serfs, presents a sombre canopy, 
through whose darkness the lightning of intelligence has scarcely flashed. 
Sanguinary monarchies and submissive subjects alone are seen. 

The instinct of the American people has located and erected the grand 
maritime cities of Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore, where our 
continent receives the axis of the 'isothermal zone. Entering here from 
the east^ and favored by the auspicious architecture of our continent, this 
axis of intensity traverses it athwart to the Pacific Ocean. 

It deviates little from the fortieth degree of latitude, arching from it 
slightly in the middle range towards the south. Here auspicious nature 
unveils every propitious gift. The energy of progress, always salient upon 
this line, has located along it all the first selected and chief cities — Pitts- 
burg, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Leavenworth and Kansas, Denver, Salt Lake 
City, Virginia, San Francisco. Sere the intrepid energies of the pioneer 
pojmlation have first and chiefly condensed themselves in force. 

But we harve seen that North America is a vast amphitheatre, and is 
concave in configuration. Its valleys, its mountain chains, its rivers, its 
Cordilleras, its ocean boundaries, are all and all alike longitudinal. 

The whole breadth of continent, beneath the isothermal zone from Cuba 
to Hudson's Bay, presents an undeviating harmony. This longitudinal 
expansion runs flush into the arctic zone, and into the equatorial zone, 
absolutely without any barrier or obstruction to its undulating smoothness 
of surface. 

Nature is benignant and graceful throughout her whole scheme, and is 
propitious in the working of all her laws, and in every element. The 
longitudinal moxintains receive the glory of the morning and evening sun 
upon their flanks, the noontide beams upon their summits — they cast no 
chilling shadow. 

The sun's immortal flame is never withheld, hut perpettiaUy instils his 
meridian fire through all living nature, and into the hearts of men, of 
women, and of growing children. Humanity, nurtured in this affluence 


of divine warmtli, instinctively receives and cultivates discipline, elasticity, 
and immortal progress. 

The contrasted structure of the continents is therefore familiarly 
discernible. The one convex — its surface segregated — and aflBicted with 
perennial discord. The other concave — formed to concentrate all things, 
and condense them into everlasting unity, order, and concord. 

In Asia resides a population of 840,000,000, distributed into 350 dis- 
cordant nationalities. In Europe 259,000,000 of population, distracted 
by 137 independent monarchies. Among these immense hosts, and over 
this vast area, since the dawn of history, monarchy and military despot- 
ism have been invariable and universal. The struggles to achieve the indi- 
vidual liberties, self-government, and civilization of the people have been 
few, transient, and abortive. 

North America has a population of 50,000,000. With them the 
liberties, self-government, and civilization of the people are and have 
been normal and universal in principle and practice. Monarchy and 
military despotism have been always unknown and absent from our con- 

The indestructible principles of social and political science are rescued, 
one by one, from the chaos and rubbish of Europe. They are known in 
sufficient numbers to perpetuate, to combine and fortify themselves — to 
advance from discovery to discovery — from victory to. victory, over force, 
ignorance, and blind error. Rescued from the quicksands of the past, 
democratic-r€j)uhUcan])ower, rightly understanding itself, has here set and 
perpetuated in the world its own indestructible foundations. 

As the continents and oceans of the northern hemisphere wrap the globe 
in a closed circle, America is an island. She is intermediate between the 
oceans and the outward protruding extremities of the other continent, 
being equidistant from them. 

Europe opens all the outlets of its inland seas and rivers towards the 
west, debouching on to our Atlantic front, towards which its whole surface 

Asia similarly presents to our Pacific front an Oriental slope. This 
contains her great rivers, the densest masses of her population, and 
detached islands of great area. These gorgeous archipelagoes are brim- 
ful of active populations, and of infinite production. 

The distance from the European to the Asian shores, as we accompany 
the sun, is 10,000 geographical miles ! 

These ancient masses of population, then, hach to hack, and descending 
these contrasted slopes, both front America — they face one another across 
America. The short line of mutual approach is the axis of isothermal 


warmth, penetrating four-fifths of the land, and nine-tenths of the popu- 
lation of the globe ! 

This is the line of way-travel of all the white races, of the commercial 
activity and industry of the zodiac of civilization ! 

As, then, this interval of North America is filled up, the afiiliation of 
all mankind will be accomplished : proximity recognized : the distractions 
of intervening oceans and equatorial heats cease : the remotest nations Ite 
grouped together and fused into one universal and harmonious system of 
fraternal relations. 

Here, then, at this moment, by the arrival of the American people on 

the summit of the Cordillera, ascending and conquering both its flanks 

simultaneously, the most startling fact of all time reveals itself — aus- 

, picious to the whole human race, and pregnant with the most portentous 

and immediate consequences. 

Suddenly the mysteries of geographical progress are resolved — light and 
victory substitute themselves for darkness and distrust. Why the halves 
of the human race, marching the one half towards the setting sun, and 
the other half towards the rising sun, and perpetually departing asunder — 
separated in the rear by insuperable physical barriers — broken apart by 
hostile forces and obstacles — ^have maintained feebly, and often entirely 
lost, their mutual relations, is clearly revealed ! 

Now, at this hour, this progress of mutual departure is complete, and 
completely reversed. Upon the auspicious arena of the American conti- 
nent and the Pacific Ocean, these columns surprise one another in over- 
whelming force and numbers. They encounter, face to face, and front to 
front. The mission of each and both manifests itself. That peace and 
charity are possible in the world is recognized — chronic war unnecessary, 
and a consuming blunder. 

These multitudes behold one another — the weapons of mutual slaughter 
are hurled away — the sanguinary passions of a consuming rapacity find a 
check — a majority of the human family is found to accept and protect the 
essential teachings of Christianity in practice. 

Room is discovered for industrial virtue and industrial power. The 
civilized masses of the world meet — they mutually explain and under- 
stand one another — they are mutually enlightened, and fraternize to re- 
constitute human relations and institutions in harmony with nature and 
with God. 

The world may cease to be a unanimous military camp, incubated only 
by the malignant principles of arbitrary force and abject submission. 

A new and grand order in human affairs inaugurates itself out of these 
iajmense concurrent discoveries and events. 


The great heart of American society palpitates with new fires, impelled 
by a universal instinct, inspiring discipline in action and rectitude of 
purpose. Science illuminates their work ; circumstances favor and dictate 
success to their energies. 

A divine light, issuing out of the obscurity of the past, shines upon 
our country and upon our people. It speaks out in the never-silent oracles 
of Nature, in response to which each individual heart is free to re-echo and 
reflect. A finite goal is unveiled to them, and distinctly seen — its pos- 
session and fruition are intelligibly revealed. 

The decade, from 1840 to 1850, has become forever memorable by a 
crowning discovery made and victory won by the genius of the pioneers. 
I mean the " GOLD fever." The indefinite production and midtipli- 
cation of sound imoney hy the individual and voluntary labor of the 

Labor and industry construct their own empire and assume the adminis- 
tration of governments. Steam upon the ocean and upon the land: more 
potent than armies : condenses labor, and magnifies indefinitely its power 
and its results. The ameliorating graces of commerce are rescued from 
the despotic monopoly of riparian cities, isolated on the fringe of the sea. 

They transport themselves in generous profusion to the homes of the 
people, where they live in the depths of the continents. They are dif- 
fused to them as the renovating rain of summer distils its drops to every 
forest tree, to every blade of grain, and to each individual flower. The 
consuming voracity of government : administered only in the interests 
of trade and the engulfing rapacity of maritime cities : is uprooted. 
Equality and equity in the administration of power are brought within 
the reach and 'practice of rural populations. 

Whereas the energies and the conquests of the pioneer army of tlie 
people ; during the last quarter of a century ; have caused the most 
significant and profound perturbations of society throughout the world — 
as to them also, the City of Denver owes her location and her future 
— it is necessary to illustrate the causes of this extraordinary freshness 
and activity. 

On July 4th, 1849, speaking by their invitation to the California emi 
grants about to depart from the Missouri River, I used this language : — ■ 

"Up to the year 1840, the progress whereby twenty-six States and 
four Territories have been established and peopled, has amounted to a 
solid strip, rescued from the wilderness, 24 miles in depth, added annually 
along the western face of the Union, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. 

" This occupation of wild territory, accumulating outward like the annual 
rings of our forest trees, proceeds with all the solemnity of a providential 


ordinance. It is at this moment sweeping onward to tlie Pacific witL 
accelerated activity and force, like a deluge of men, rising unabatedly, 
and daily pushed onward by the hand of God. 

" Fronting the Union, on every side, is a vast army of pioneers. This 
active host, numbering 500,000 at least, has the movements and obeys 
the discipline of a perfectly organized military force. It is momentarily 
recruited by single individuals, by families : and in some instances by 
whole communities : from every village, county, city, and State of the 
Union, and by immigrants from other nations. 

" Each man in the moving throng is in force a platoon. He makes a 
farm on the outer edge of the settlements, which he occupies for a year. 
He then sells to the leading files pressing up to him from behind. He 
again advances 24 miles, renews his farm, is again overtaken and again 
sells. As individuals fall out from the front ranks, or fix themselves 
permanently, others rush from behind, pass to the front, and assail the 
wilderness in their turn. 

" Previous to the recently concluded war with Mexico, this energetic 
throng was engaged at one point in occupying the Peninsula of Florida 
and lands vacated by emigrant Indian tribes. At another point in reach- 
ing the copper region of Lake Superior : in absorbing Iowa and Wis- 
consin. From this very spot had gone forth a forlorn hope to occupy 
Oregon and California. Texas was thus annexed — the Indian country 
pressed upon its flanks — spy companies reconnoitred New and Old Mexico. 
~ " Even then : obeying the mysterious and inscrutable impulse which 
drives our nation to its goal : a body of the hardiest race that ever faced 
varied and unnumbered dangers and privations, embarked upon the trail 
to the Pacific coast. They forced their way to the end : encountering 
and defying difiiculties unparalleled ; with a courage and success the like 
to which the world has not heretofore seen. 

" Thus, then, overland sweeps this tidal wave of population, absorbing 
in its thundering march the glebe, the savages, and the wild beasts of 
the wilderness : scaling the mountains, and debouching down upon the 
seaboard. Upon the high Atlantic sea-coast, the pioneer force has thrown 
itself into ships, and found in the ocean fisheries food for its creative 
genius. The whaling fleet is the rtiarine force of the pioneer army. 
These two forces, by land and by sea, have both worked steadily onward 
to the North Pacific. 

" They now re-unite in the harbors of California and Oregon, about to 
bring into existence upon the Pacific a commercial grandeur identical with 
that which has followed and gathered to them upon the Atlantic. 


" Hence have already come these new States : this other seahoard : and 
the renewed vivacity of progress with which the general heart now pal- 
pitates ! 

" Will this cease or slacken ? Has the pouring forth of the stream 
from Europe ever ceased since the day of Columbus? Has the grass 
obliterated the trails down the Alleghanies, or across the Mississippi ? 
Rather let him who doubts seat himself upon the bank of the supreme 
Missouri River, and await the running dry of his yellow waters ! For 
sooner shall he see this, than a cessation in the crowd now flowing loose to 
the Western seaboard ! 

" Gold is dug — lumber is manufactured — ^pastoral and arable agriculture 
grow apace — a marine flashes into existence — commerce resounds — the fish- 
eries are prosecuted — vessels are built — steam pants through all the waters. 
Each interest stimulating all the rest, and perpetually creating novelties, 
a career is commenced, to which, as it glances across the Pacific, the 
human eye assigns no term !" 

It is to the infallible judgment and the intrepid valor of the pioneers 
that the American people owe the selection of Colorado and the auspicious 
cosmopolitan site of Denver. The one crowns and embraces the supreme 
altitude of the continent, and majestically arches the Cordillera : the other 
rests in the focus of the continental scheme of activity and fresh forces. 

By the exalted energy and devotion of tlie pioneer army, the imperilled 
Union has been saved from obscure speculations and blind theories. 

We had beheld a period of repression ; during which our people had 
been driven by malignant legislation in a maritime shell around the conti- 
nent : its vast centre had been retained as a desert disc. 

The patriotism and energies of the people, pent up and exasperated by 
malignant politics, had become deformed and distorted by civil strife : our 
soil incarnadined with fraternal blood. 

With the pioneer army rests the glory which has vindicated the mis- 
sion of America : which preserves, enlarges, and perpetuates the con- 
tinental union of the States; elsewhere rocked to its foundations, and 
enervated by nepotism to the foolish fashions of Europe. 

While European sentiment and its dismal political bigotry has every- 
where fomented civil war and slaughter ; invaded Mexico ; bombarded the 
West Indies and South America ; filled Canada with incendiaries, and 
the ocean with pirates : ancient, bountiful, wise, prolific, and luxuriant 
Asia, has cultivated and pressed upon us peace, friendship, sympathy, and 
the afiiliation of her redundant populations and productions. 

Advancing to meet and embrace this fresh and splendid arena : march- 
ing with the double puipose to assimilate with the Asiatic system and 


activities, and to emancipate itself from the impoverisliing and sterile 
monopoly of the Atlantic, the pioneer army selects Denver. 

Here the geography and drainage of the Atlantic comes to an end ; 
that of the Pacific is reached. Infallible instinct adheres to the isother- 
mal axis. 

Here is the propitious point to receive the column from Asia, de- 
l)0uching from the ocean and the mountains to radiate and expand itself 
eastward over the unobstructed area of the Mississippi basin ! We con- 
sent to face about ! The rear becomes the front ! Asia in front ; Europe 
in the rear ! 

Denver is 875 miles from Sacramento : 1461 from Mexico City : 
1100 from St. Louis : and 2200 from New York. 

It is, therefore, by proximity identified with the Pacific Ocean and 
with Mexico. 

It is the salient point to which Asia and Polynesia will come, seeking 
a central base from which to distribute themselves over the eastern area 
of America and to Europe. The selection thus first made by the inspired 
and infallible judgment of ihe. pioneers of the wilderness will forever re- 
main unanimously acceptable to the American people. 

The instinct., the whole embodied force and pressure of interest, judg- 
ment, power, and patriotism of the people of the Pacific, will construct 
the Central Railroad of North America, from San Francisco to Denver ! 

Why this conclusion dictates itself as eminently probable, is illustrated 
by innumerable shining and concurrent facts of nature and experiences of 

Denver is in a focal point of impregnable power in the topographical 
configuration of the continent. It is a focal point for the great radiant 
rivers, six in number, whose channels form a multitude of unbroken grades 
descending to the Atlantic. It is equally so for those streams which, 
scalping the escarpments of the Cordillera, prolong these gradients and 
graft them, through and through, on the counterpart /oca? system of the 
rivers of the Pacific. 

The symmetrical propinquity and mier-radiation' of the plains of the 
Arkansas and Platte Rivers — enveloping and fusing into the plain of the 
Kansas — carry the Great Plains, like an undulating ocean, sheer up to 
the primeval Cordillera. This is here unembarrassed hy outliers. 

The Great Plains form a descending slope to the longitudinal trough 
of the Mississippi River, basking themselves in the eastern sun. By their 
intense fertility and immense area, they are about to give to our people 
supremacy in the world. 

The Great Plains extend from the Mexican Gulf to the Arctic Sea. 


They are of a uniform drift fonnation, alluvial and diluvial : they have a 
width, from west to east, of 1200 miles; a longitudinal length of 3500. 

The destruction of the mountains forms their soils, in which every 
active element of fertility and production is mingled. This huge area 
owes its construction and its smoothness to the vast net-work of rivers 
which meander down its slojie ; but still more especially to the atmospheric 
currents flowing perpetually from the icest. 

In this work Nature employs the industiy of multitudinous myriads 
of minute animals. The zoophytes erect coral islands from the abyss of 
the ocean. Here the ants, the marmots, the badgers, the foxes, the 
wolves, everywhere erect their multitudinous nests from the powder and 
minute gravel of the subsoil. 

Dried by the sun and fanned by the tcest tvind, from each separate 
hillock rises, to the height of thirty feet, a whirlpool of soil. This travels, 
from west to east, a few hundred feet, bursts and sows itself broadcast. 
Periodiccdly come sand-storms of force and violence, which, to a less dis- 
tance and similarly, transport the fine gravel and small boulders. 

This system of natural forces, acting through countless ages, has formed 
by the atmospheric currents this prodigious sloping glacis. As lai'ge in ex- 
panse as is the Atlantic Sea, the winds sweep over and mould its surface 
as completely as they ruffle the water surface and drive the waves of 
the ocean. 

This porous drift material absorbs promptly and hides the water coming 
from the clouds. These waters permeate down and underflow upon the 
bed-rock foundation, which has the same perpetual slope and is parallel 
with the top surface. Elevated for irrigation by artesian wells, after use 
it again sinks to its home beneath, and is protected from evaporation. 

Of the fattest fertility ; drained beneath ; everywhere supplied with 
artesian waters, there is no interruption to this propitious structure and 
uniform adaptability to arable culture. Every acre of this ocean prairie 
thus offers itself for the production of the cereals. 

In their undisturbed nature these plains are pastoral : they have, within 
the knowledge of our people — within my own knowledge — sustained 
100,000,000 of aboriginal grazing stock, feeding themselves upon the 
perennial grasses, as fish in the sea. 

Animal life is as multitudinous, and as various in kinds, as is the coun- 
terpart marine population of the ocean ! IMineral fuel, and material for 
building and fencing, are abundant and universally distributed. The 
atmosphere is uniformly moderate in temperature, favorable to health, to 
longevity, to intellectual and physical development, and stimulative of an 
exalted tone of social civilization and refinement. 


SucIl is the grandeur whieli displays itself around us to the north, 
to the east, and to the south. Nature groups her favors in endless 
varieties, in the most auspicious forms, and in the palmiest dimensions. 

Towering above us on the west are the cloud-compelling summits of 
the Eastern Cordillera. We have seen that the system of the North 
American Andes here reaches its extreme departure from the oceans ; its 
most salient angle of expansion ; culminating also in supreme bulk and 

Enveloped within them are the Pares : adjacent to and beyond these, 
are the immense mountain basins of the Rio del Norte ; the Colorado ; 
Salt Lake ; and Columbia : all upon the expanse of the Plateau. 

In and around the Parcs is preparing itself the mining laboratory of 
the world. The rare economy in structure, climate, inter-oceanic con- 
venience, prolific food, miscellaneous materials and metals, constitute 
and locate here the paragon of all geographical positions. 



The discoveries of exact science teach us conclusively what is desirable 
to be known. 

Everybody is familiar with the manufacture of shot. This is accom- 
jjlished by pouring liquid lead at a high elevation through perforated 
moulds. Each pellet of lead descending through the air is formed into a 
sphere, as it cools, by the invisible force of gravity. 

The globe of the earth has had a similar origin ; once a liquid mass ; 
now a solid gravitating sphere of 8000 miles in diameter, such as we in- 
habit it. Geology explains how the material mass of this great sphere 
has arranged itself into layers or shells, enveloping one another like the 
successive coatings of an onion, or rather as the pulp of an orange with 
many successive rinds. 

Specific gravity accounts for the relative positions of these layers one 
upon the other : it explains to us where and how to penetrate to their 
metalliferous contents. It is in the primeval rocJcs exclusively that the 
precious metals and gems are found. The base metals are found in the 
calcareous rocks. 

Specific gravity guides us to discover the rocks in which the metals are 
found and when they are totally absent. If into a hollow pillar of glass there 
be poured a quart of quicksilver, one of water, one of oil, and one of 
alcohol, these liquids will rest one upon the other in this order. 

If a piece of gold, of iron, of wood, and a feather, be thrown in, they 
will sink — the gold to the bottom, the iron to the quicksilver, the wood 
to the water, the feather to the oil. If this whole mass be congealed to 
ice, this arrangement will remain solid and permanent.- The gold must 
be sought for sedimentary to the quicksilver ; the iron above it, but sedi- 
mentary to the water ; the wood resting upon the water, but sedimentary 
to the oil. 

In the stupendous projiortions and exact order of nature, a similar 
arrangement holds in the rocks which envelop the globe of the earth in 
a crust, as the contents of an egg are held within its shell. This crust or 
shell is known to be 125 miles in thickness. 



These rocks, once all soft or liquid, are now all permanently solid, in 
the order of their relative specific gravities. 

But, as the bottom contents of a meadow-field are ripped up by the 
driving force of" a subsoil plow, so the compressed fires and chaotic 
forces of the interior globe, tearing through its crust, have thrown up the 
titanic longitudinal furrow which is now the elevated Cordillera from 
Cape Horn to Behring's Strait. 

The lowest rocks, therefore, split asunder and driven up vertically, 
now form the summit of the Cordillera. The rended facings of the 
bottom plates become the surmounting top of the Sierra. The warped 
sides, bent upwards, form the sloping flanks of the Sierra. Piled against 
these, the superincumbent strata are lapped. 

These appear as successive benches upon the flanks of the Cordillera, 
forming a rugged staircase, whose steps are each of continental magnitude 
and dimensions. Such is the aboriginal profile of the primeval Cor- 
dillera., now rasped away and ragged by corrosion and the play of the 
elements during countless millions of seasons. 

But science, with equal truth and simplicity, ascending upwards from 
the earth's surface, explains the atjiospheres which embrace the globe 
outside, and handles them without obscurity. 

The globe is covered externally with a liquid shell of water, through 
which the contents protrude : this is the ocean, aqueous atmosplieo-e, being 
dense and visible to the eye. 

External to this, and resting upon it, is the shell of the aerial atmos- 
phere. This atmosphere is invisible to the eye ; but the vapors exhaled 
from the land and the ocean ascend into it ; are condensed into mists and 
rain-clouds, which float through it in visible masses. 

At an altitude of 4000 feet, this aerial atmosphere terminates as 
abruptly and completely as has the aqueous atmosphere at our feet. 
Above its limit, or upper surface, the ratft-clouds do not ascend, but have 
their termination and level similarly to the aqueous atmosphere beneath. 

External to the aerial atmosphere is the ETHEREAL atmosphere, beyond 
which animal life, vegetation, and clouds cease to exist. 

Physical geography defines those portions of the earth's surface within 
the aerial atmosphere to possess a MARITIME climate ; those within the 
ethereal atmosphere to possess a continental climate. The Plateaux 
of North America, of Central Asia, and of South America enjoy a conti- 
nental climate ; the rest of the earth's surface lies within the maritime 

How perfectly the area of Colorado possesses a continental climate 
and lies within the etherecd atmosphere, manifests itself to every obsei-v- 


ing eye. The illustrations and proofs of this are conclusive in every 
department and minute detail of nature — upon the surface of the Plains: 
in the canopy overhead ; in the mountains ; in animal life ; and in the 

To the traveller who ascends from east to loest, at the passage of the 
102d meridian, the metamorphosis over the whole landscape is complete. 
The surface of the earth is uniformly dry, compact, and free from mud ; 
the forest has disappeared even from the rivers ; where irrigation, other 
than that supplied from the clouds, is absent, wormwood, the cactus, and 
delicate perennial grasses only grow ; the air is intensely pungent, tonic 
to the taste, dry, and translucent ; the atmospheric pressure diminishes, 
and animal digestion is modified. 

Across the canopy, which is intensely blue in color and brilliancy, rush 
incessantly, like horsed couriers of the air, cumuli clouds, burnished with 
and radiating silver fire. This gorgeous meteoric display of clouds is multi- 
tudinous and incessant round the year : they contain neither rain nor 
electricity; and descend over us with mysterious and incalculable velocity in 
the aerial atmosphere. 

The atmospheric currents pour incessantly from the west — the moun- 
tains gather but little snow — they are naked and dry at midsummer. The 
rivers are without afiluents, and expend their waters by evaporation. The 
incessant passage of clouds does not obscure the sun, but refracts and 
intensifies his insj^iring light. 

There are neither moisture, miasmas, nor perceptible exhalations of any 
kind. Dust is not frequent. Serenity, moderation, and purity reign within 
the complete circuit of the horizon. The mind of man is soothed, tem- 
pered, and modified by this immense benignity throughout nature, which 
infuses itself, and assimilates everything but human avarice and rapacity. 

The superb richness of color and of dissolving shades are infinitely 
variegated and delicate. The vision, aided by the continually increasing 
elevation, is far penetrating and distinct in its recognitions. Within and 
among the mountains and upon the Plateau, the rainless character, 
serenity, and splendor of the atmosphere are the same. All these gener- 
ous attributes gather in force, and are enhanced by the superlative beauty 
and sublimity of their marvellous structure, magnitude, and number. 

The jvecise facts which fix the supreme climatic excellence of Colorado 
are these : the latitude — the elevation above the sea — the remote seclu- 
sion from the sea. These all attain here their maximum, and unite har- 
moniously. This results from the astonishing and auspicious concord 
between the grand laws of nature ; the comprehensive scale of the ai'chi- 
tecture ; and the favorable local configuration. 


The North American Andes everywliere prove themselves to have been 
driven up through the bed of a primeval ocean, of which the Mississippi 
basin is the still unaltered bowl. The sedimentary strata, like a nest of 
bowls lining the abyss, are broken ojff and tilted up along the indented 
base of the mountains. 

A traveller who approaches the Atlantic seaboard, coming from the 
east, sees that ocean penetrating every bay, gulf, harbor, and indentation 
of the land, preserving an unalterable level. In the same way, wrapped 
against the Cordillera, and meandering its infinitely indented roots with 
the same undeviating fidelity, are seen the rended edges of the calcareous 

Each stratum having its characteristic color, this fringe of a departed 
ocean is traced without intermission lengthwise through the continent. 
It is easily discernible, as though a continuous rainbow were plaited in to 
mark the line of junction, where the sedimentary and primeval rocks join 
together and depart in opposite directions, each to maintain exclusive 

Thus, ascending along the arc of the 40th degree of latitude, a dis- 
tance of twenty miles from the Plains, directly up to the summit of the 
Cordillera, every elementary rock of the geological scale is crossed, 
arranged in order and placed in position. At the lower end appears 
diluvial drift, the top settlings of the sea ; at the other end the primeval 
porphyry, upheaved from the lowest crust. 

Here, in economical juxtaposition and luxuriant profligacy, are found 
every metal, every rock, every clay, every salt, every alkali, fuel, arbores- 
cence, vegetation of grasses and flora— every and each element of the 
geological scale to which human industry applies its skill, or manufactures 
and converts to social use. 

I am awed by these marvellous facts of nature, which cannot escape 
recognition. I have not discovered that they exist, or can so exist, else- 
where round the earth's circumference, in any such complete combination, 
of such purity and magnitude, as here — intermediate — upon the condensed 
track of way-travel of the populous and active zodiac of mankind. 

A startling and profound novelty here displays itself and fixes our 

All along the longitudinal Plateau, altitude and the protection of the 
Cordilleras temper the heat towards the equatorial zone ; the same causes 
temper the cold towards the polar zone. These extremes of temperature 
for the day and for the night are great ; for the seasons round the year 
scarcely perceptible. In one word, the temperature is uniformly vernal. 

By this, the genial and propitious climate of the isothermal zodiac is 


prolonged outward upon its nortli flank, and its south flank : it extends 
up and down the area of the Plateau, and is felt to both its extremities. 

Thus is illustrated the severe contrast among the ^continents, North 
America being in its configuration concave — -all the others convex.. Else- 
whei'e, hostile structure, perpetuating incorrigible distraction, segregates 
society and dwarfs its energies. 

In North America a homogeneous unity of language, population, and 
manners is unavoidable. This is benignantly amplified by an undulating 
variety of contour, pervading equally the mountain system and the plains. 
This happy combination provokes the highest development and discipline 
of energy, and the most exalted civilization. 

As for the site upon which the City op Denver is founded, it is pre- 
eminently cosmopolitan. It pre-occupies the auspicious focus into which 
Nature groups all her colossal elements. We are at the base of the East- 
ern Cordillera, whose summit, nowhere penetrated by navigation for ten 
thousand miles, forms the physical meridian which parts and unites the 
two hemispheres of the globe. 

Here the vast arena of the Pacific basin fits itself to the basin of the 
Atlantic, edge to edge. The goal is reached where the zodiac of nations 
closes its circle. The gap between the hemispheres is bridged over forever. 

We are upon the isothermal axis, which is the trunk line (the thalweg) 
of intense and intelligent energy ; where civilization has its largest field, 
its highest development, its inspired form. 

There is an intoxicating grandeur in the 2>anorama which unveils itself 
to the spectator looking out from the crest of the neighboring Cordillera. 
In front, in rear, and on either flank, Nature ascends to her highest 
standard of excellence. 

Behold to the right the IMississippi Basin : to the left the Plateau of 
the Table Lands : beneath, the family of Pares : around, the radiating 
backs of the primeval mountains : the primary rivers starting to the seas : 
a uniform altitude of 8000 feet : a translucent atmosphere, a thousand miles 
removed from the ocean and its influences : a checkered landscape, from 
which no element of sublimity is left out — fertility and food upon the 
surface ; metals beneath ; uninterrupted facility of transit. 

Behold here the panorama which crowns the middle region of our 
Union ; fans the immortal fire of i^atriotism ; and beckons on the ener- 
getic host of our people ! 

Here, through the heart of our territory, our population, our States, 
our cities, our mines, our farms and habitations, will traverse the con- 
densed commerce of mankind — where passengers and cargoes may, at any 
time or place, embark upon or leave the vehicles of transportation. 


Down witli the parricidal policy which will banish it from the land — 
from among the broadcast dwellings of the people — to force it on to the 
sterile ocean : outside of society, through foreign nations — into the torrid 
heats : along solitary, circuitous routes : imprisoned for months and dwarfed 
in great ships I 

Railways, multiplied and spanning the continent, are essential domestic 
institutions ; more powerful and more permanent than law, or popular con- 
sent, or political constitutions, to thoroughly complete the grand system 
of fluvial arteries which fraternize us into one people — to bind the two 
seaboards to this one continental union, like ears to the human head — to 
radicate the rural foundations of the Union so broad and deep, and 
establish its structures so solid, that no possible force or stratagem can 
shake its permanence — to secure such scope and space to progress, that 
equality and prosperity shall never be impaired, or chafe for want of room ! 

To Denver is secured a career into which all these favorable facts of 
position and circumferent area are now united. The North American 
people number Ji/t^ millions in strength. Two millions annually shift 
their homes. This force is, par excellence, the pioneer army of the North 
American people. This movement causes an uninterrupted pressure of 
the people from east to west, resembling the drift of the ocean which 
accompanies the great tidal wave. 

Diurnally is the surface of the sea lifted up in silence and poured upon 
the coasts of the continents. Exactly similar to this is the movement, 
annually gathering force, and seen to impel our people through and 
through from the eastern to the western limit of the land. 

The inscrutable force of gravity, which with minute accuracy holds the 
planets in their orbits, or causes each drop of rain to fall, sways the 
instinct of society. This gravitation presses from all directions upon the 
axis, and to the focus of intensity. This regular instinct of movement 
has been transiently interfered with by the artificial passions and demorali- 
zation of civil strife. It rapidly assumes again its temper and its 

Our neighbors from California work up to us with miraculous energy 
and celerity. They bring with them the open avenue to us from Asia. 

The Mexican column reaches us from the south. On the north the 
activity is great, and in close contact. These several columns simultane- 
ously converge upon us. They increase every moment in numbers, weight, 
and celerity of motion. 

We ho longer march into the blind wilderness, dependent upon and 
chained exclusively to Europe in the rear. We open up in front the 
gorgeous arena of the Asiatic Ocean 


At present, tlie huge city of London monopolizes the imports from the 
Oriental world. These are stored there, and retailed to the people re- 
siding in the basin of the Atlantic. 

Upon the labor of the American people, so far as they participate 'w 
the consumption of Oriental ivares, is harnessed the frightful burden to 
support the British people and the British Empire, a id to be devoui-ed 
by their voracious despotism of trade. 

The work of emancipation is accomplished by the intrepid energies 
and conquests of the pioneer army of North America. It only remains 
to be appreciated and accepted by the people. 

We are about to supply by direct export the food and precious and base 
metals to 850,000,000 of neighboring Asiatics ! To Japan : to China : 
to India. To the gorgeous islands of Borneo : Sumatra : Java. To the 
Philippines : the Celebes. To the Archipelagoes of the Sooloo Sea and 
Polynesia ! These are larger in aggregate area, and more populous, than 
Europe ; and are nearer to us. 

Included within the equatorial zone, but approached by us through the 
temperate zone, they overflow with merchandises desirable to our people, 
in multitudinous aflSuence. To us will belong the prodigious carrying 
trade upon the seas for these infinite multitudes. The equatorial Jieats 
are outflanked and avoided. The conflict for dominion over the mul- 
tiplied commerce of the world is fought, and the conclusive victory is 
won for our country. 

A large majority of the American people now reside within the Mis- 
sissippi Basin, and in this Asiatic front of our continent, which is born 
from us. 

Nascent powers, herculean from the hour of their birth, unveil their 
forms and demand their rights. States for the pioneers; self-govern- 
ment for the pioneers ; untrammelled way for the imperial energies of the 
forces of the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Sea, may not long be 
withheld by covetous, arbitrary, and arrogant jealousy and injustice ! 

In the conflict for freedom, it is not numbers or cunning that conquers ; 
but rather daring, discipline, and judgment, combined and tempered by 
the condensed fire of faith and intrepid valor. 

As it is my hope, in these notes, to contribute what may be valuable, 
I adhere strictly to severe fiicts, and reject absolutely all theory and 
speculation. These facts are as indestructibly established as is the alpha- 
bet, and are as worthy of unquestioning faith and credence. 

That we may look into the gathering achievements of the near future, 

without obscurity, and with an accurate prophetic vision, I may without 

censure submit what is within my own personal experience. 



It fell to my lot, during the years from 1840 to 1845, alone and in 
extreme youth, to seek and chalk out, in the immense solitudes filling 
the space from Missouri to China, the lines of this dazzling empire of 
which we now hold the oracular crown — to have stood by its cradle — to 
be the witness of its miraculous growth. 

It is not for me, in this season of gathering splendor, to speak tamely 
upon a subject of such intense and engrossing novelty and interest. I may 
properly here quote the concluding sentences of a report which I was re- 
quired to make on the 2d of March, 1846, to the United States Senate, 
at that time brimful of illustrious statesmen. What I said then and 
there, in the first dawning twilight of our glory, I will now repeat : 

" The calm, wise man sets himself to study aright and understand clearly 
the deep designs of Providence — to scan the great volume of nature — to 
fathom, if possible, the will of the Creator, and to receive with respect 
what may be revealed to him. 

" Two centuries have rolled over our race upon this continent. From 
nothing we have become 20,000,000. From nothing we are grown to 
be in agriculture, in commerce, in civilization, and in natural strength, 
the first among nations existing or in history. So much is our destiny — 
so far, up to this time — transacted, accomplished, certain, and not to be 
disputed. From this threshold we read the future. 

" The untransacted destiny of the American people is to subdue the 
continent — to rush over this vast field to the Pacific. Ocean — to animate 
the many hundred millions of its people, and to cheer them upward — to 
set the principle of self-government at work — to agitate these herculean 
masses — to establish a new order in human affairs — to set free the en- 
slaved—to regenerate superannuated nations — to change darkness into 
light — to stir up the sleep of a hundred centuries — to teach old nations 
a new civilization — to confirm the destiny of the human race — to cany 
the career of mankind to its culminating point — to cause stjignant people 
to be re-born — to perfect science — to emblazon history with the conquest 
of peace — ^to shed a new and resplendent glory upon mankind — to unite 
the world in one social family — to dissolve the spell of tyranny and exalt 
charity — to absolve the curse that weighs down humanity, and to shed 
blessings round the world ! 

'■' Divine task ! immortal mission ! Let us tread fast and joyfully the 
open trail before us ! Let every American heart open wide for patriotism 
to glow undimmed, and confide with religious faith in the sublime and 
prodigious destiny of his well-loved country." 




Happy are those wlio, after hopes long suspended and harassing 
anxieties long and doubtingly endured, come to find their hopes consum- 
mated by brilliant successes, their anxieties relieved by enthusiastic 
praises and the shouts of triumph. 

Such are the soldiers who, their trials ended and their long and ex- 
hausting services at an end, are here assembled to receive the greetings 
of their kindred, and listen to their flattering praises and their shouts of 
victory and welcome. 

During thirty-two years of peace, — a long period, which includes the 
birth of nine-tenths of us, — our own State has joined the confederacy. 
War came suddenly. With the same pen which signed the declaration 
of hostilities between Mexico and the United States, the President di- 
rected to Missouri the first requisition for the War ! 

It asked a slender force of 1500 men, — all volunteers but 300 dragoons 
— to cross the Great Plains and penetrate Mexico by the north. 

Bounding forth at the sound of the war-bugle, in one month were as- 
sembled at Fort Leavenworth, beyond the western verge of our Union, 
the 1st Regiment of Missouri Cavalry, the battalion of Artillery from St. 
Louis, the battalion of Cole Infantry, and the Laclede Rangers, 1200 in 
all, and forth they marched. 

Wars had occupied mankind for one hundred centuries, but they had 
been wars between adjacent nations — marches had been confined to inhab- 
ited countries, where provisions abounded on the routes. 

Here was a wilderness of a thousand miles to be traversed, and the enemy 
to be encountered at home, in great strength, and abounding in resources. 
A failure to transport with us complete supplies was certain disaster and 
Starvation — a check received from the enemy at their threshold would 



eventuate the same. This enemy was the people of Mexico, a sister Re- 

Years had been exhausted in ingenious devices on our part to avoid 
this conflict. Our citizens had been massacred in Texas amidst the very- 
orgies of barbarism — our merchants had been plundered and imprisoned 
— our flag insulted in their metropolis — our citizens murdered, maltreated, 
and scoff"ed for their religion — debts accumulating during thirty years 
unpaid — treaties contemptuously violated — more than all, an attempt to 
imitate our republican system, productive only of anarchy, stood as a bur- 
lesque beside us on our own continent, furnishing to the malevolent food 
for satires upon popular freedom in the New World. 

Forth, then, into the wilderness plunged the little army of Missouri to 
encounter these enemies of their country — their country to them always 

The plains were passed, and the rugged mountains which, dividing 
from the Rocky Mountains, encircle New Mexico, were reached. Their 
rapid progress had outstripped the provision-trains. Amidst fatiguing 
marches, dust, solstitial heats, and scanty water, subsisting on one-quarter 
of the ordinary ration, they rushed onward to Santa Fe. , 

The ai'my of New Mexico, in numbers three to one of our force, occu- 
pying the impregnable gorge of G-allisteo, which covers the approach to 
Santa Fe, dispersed in dismay. On the 18th of August, three months 
from the proclamation of war, made at Washington City, 2300 miles dis- 
tant, the state of New Mexico lay conquered, and the American flag 
floated over the Capitol at Santa Fe. 

Occupied until the middle of September in securing the subjugation of 
the country, the 1st Regiment descended the Del Norte to the lower set- 
tlements, receiving the submission of the towns and people, and returned 
to Santa Fe. 

New Mexico contains 100,000 inhabitants, vast resources, and by its 
basin-like configuration is easily defensible, and difficult to be conquered 
or long held in subjection. 

New Mexico is surrounded by powerful tribes of military Indians : the 
Comanches, towards Texas— the Yutas and Navajos in the Rocky Moun- 
tains, and on their slope towards the Pacific. 

Issuing from the surrounding mountains, these warlike Indians strike 
down the people, devastate the banks of the Del Norte, and drive forth 
the stock. In years past they have plundered from Mexicans many mil- 
lions of sheep and cattle. By the submission of New Mexico we had 
become the guardinns of her people and territory. The pious duty re- 
mained to tame her savage foes. 


The infantry, artillery, and dragoons remained to garrison Santa Fe — a 
fort was built to command its appr(jaches — a treaty was asked for and 
made by the Comanches. The 1st llegiment, in three detachments, de- 
parted for the recesses of the Rocky Mountains late in September : the 
one penetrating towards the northwest by Canada and the Chamas against 
the Yutas and Navajos ; another southwest by Albuquerque and Sabo- 
letta ; a third descended by the Del Norte, covering the American traders 
bound eventually to Chihuahua. 

The northern column passed out through a denuded country and devas- 
tated villages, to which the fugitive Mexicans returned under its protec- 
tion, and, reaching the recesses of the Rocky Mountains by the sources of 
the river Chamas, in one month delivered to the authorities in Santa Fe 
65 Yutas, including their chiefs and chief warriors. 

With them was formed a treaty of peace, since faithfully observed by 
those Indians. This restored many thousand families of Mexicans to 
their farms and firesides, and gave quiet to the northern frontier. 

Supplies having been with great difficulty collected, this same column 
prepared to pass the eternal barrier of the Rocky Mountains, and scare 
up the Navajos, reposing in security on their western slope. 

On the 2d of November (in this climate the depth of winter, indicated 
by the snows which enwrapped the surrounding mountains), this little 
force, 300 strong, abandoning their tents and wagons-, entered the gorges' 
that led up to the " Pass of the San Juan," the head of this great river 
which flows to the Pacific. 

With us were 70 Mexican allies and 100 pack-mules transporting pro- 
visions. In seven days, contending against snow-storms and ice at an 
altitude of 10,000 feet in mid-winter, and unpalatable water, the passage 
of the " Great Mother Mountain" of the continent was accomplished. The 
measles scourged our camj). The brave boys, Foster and Bryant, fell a 
prey to its ravages. 

Following for some days the great San Juan, leaving its banks swarming 
with the sheep and horses of the Navajos, and crossing towards the south 
the impracticable mountain of Tunicha (never before trodden by white 
men), we descended into the cavernous region of Challa, amidst the seclu- 
sion of which are the forts and fastnesses of the Navajos. 

Astounded at the appearance of an American force where they had 
trusted it could never penetrate, the chiefs tendered presents, restored the 
horses which had been stolen from New Mexico, and promised abject sub- 

Taking with us nine chiefs commissioned to bind the nation, we hast- 
ened toward the snowy peaks which rose 200 miles to the east and barred 


our return to New IMexico. At the western base of these, in the territory 
of the Zuui Indians, we awaited the arrival of the colonel commanding, 
to whom the Navajos' chiefs swore eternal friendship to the white jaan. 

Marching hence under the western edge of the mountain crest, we 
visited and smoked the pipe in the city of the Zuni Indians. This 
people, many of them albinos, one of the lost specks of the antique 
Aztec race, inhabit a solitary city in the centre of the immense plain 
traversed by a northern branch of the Gila River. 

Hence, reerossing the " Great Mother Mountain" by the Zuni Pass on 
the four first days of Decemhcr, we descended to the Del Norte. Joyously 
did we meet again our fellow-soldiers, and soon the 1st Regiment found 
itself reunited at Valverde, 250 miles below Santa Fe, about to pass 
onward to the conquest of El Paso and Chihuahua. 

Thus, since our departure from Santa Fe, had our little force under my 
conmiand reduced to peace the Yuta and Navajo nations, 40,000 strong, 
accomplished a march of 750 miles, crossed and recrossed the Sierra 
Madre, passed the Tunicha and Chiuska Mountains, and many rivers. 

During many successive nights the cold descended to the freezing-point 
of mercury : the streams were frozen solid : the pasture scanty : and of 
fuel there was but a stingy handful of evergreen weeds : — two brave men 
and many horses had perished : for the rest, their health was good, and 
their spirits always gay and undaunted. 

This is the first military force of our nation which, crossing the Rocky 
IMountains and unfurling the national standard upon the ivafers of the 
Pacific, has received for it the submission of a hostile people ; and this 
was accomplished in the depth of winter. 

A portion of our little army (the artillery and infantry) remained to 
occupy New Mexico ; another, accompanying General Kearney, had gone 
to secure the conquest of California. The Indians having been subdued, 
the 1st Regiment was now concentrated at Valverde, on the lower edge 
of New Mexico, meditating the conquest of the rich and populous state 
of Chihuahua. 

This was the 12th of December. Our regiment mustered 760 men. 
The weather was intensely cold, the river ran with ice — we had no tents 
— and our animals starved upon the harsh, dry grass. In El Paso, 200 
miles below, are comfort and plenty — wine and corn, and houses, and a 
delicious climate ; but there, too, are a regular force of 1500 Mexicans 
and five pieces of artillery. Between the armies is the " Jornada," or 
" Journey of the Dead," a dreary stretch of 100 mUes, without wood or 

At the entrance of the " Jornada,' ' awaiting our advance, were the 


American merchants, liaviiig 300 wagons, charged with $1,000,000 worth 
of merchandise. One hundred men under Captain Hudson subsequently 
came to us from Santa Fe, called the " Chihuahua Rangers" — they were 
drawn from the 2d Regiment (Colonel Price's). An express was sent 
back to Santa Fe for one company of artillery, commanded by Captain 
Waitman. This company overtook us afterwards in El Paso — about the 
1st of February. 

On the 12th, a forlorn hope of 300 passed onward to open the passage 
through the "Jornada" — with this were Captains Parsons, Waldo, Reid, 
and Rodgers. We expected to meet the enemy as we should pass onward 
from its jaws. 

The passage was accomplished — no enemy obstructed our exit at the 
farther end — we descended to the river and quenched our thirst, con- 
tinued during three days and nights. Robledo is the name given to the 
lower mouth of the Jornada. Twelve miles below is the little town of 
Dona- Ana — it has plenty of corn and GOO people. 

This is the only settlement above El Paso, which is 80 miles distant. 
On the morrow we entered Dona-Ana, and there learned that the Mexican 
army would advance to meet us as we should descend to El Paso. 

On the 23d, our whole force, having successfully passed the Jornada, 
reunited at Dona-Ana. 

On the 24th, our march was 18 miles. On the 25th, advancing rapidly 
ahead of the wagon train, we encamped at Brazito, 19 miles, about one 
o'clock. The camp-guard, GO strong, the wagon-guards, and many men 
with jaded horses, were in the rear. This tons Christmas day. 

At two o'clock, the aj^proaching cloud of dust revealed the advance of 
the Mexicans. The bugles sounding to arms, our force was deployed in 
a single line on foot upon the prairie in front, and enveloping the wagons: — 
we numbered 424. 

The Mexicans deployed immediately in our front, in gallant style, and 
rapidly : — they numbered 1250. The veteran Vera Cruz Dragoons Avere 
on the right — the Chihuahua Cavalry on the left — in the centre, infantry. 
Now it was that a black flag was flapped in our eyes from the centre of 
the Mexican line. It was defied — the shock of battle followed. 

The Mexicans charged upon our line — their cavalry converging to our 
front, their infantry advancing. Our men, sitting down and receiving 
many volleys from their artillery, musketry, and escoi)ettes, decoyed them 
close — when suddenly rising and pouring in a lurid sheet of fire, the enemy, 
riddled everywhere, fled howling. 

Their artillery was taken, G3 were killed, and a vast quantity of arms 
taken from them. Those who escaped deserted from the Mexican army. 


This was Christmas day, the 9th anniversary of Okechobee. Thus 
did the Missouri volunteers confirm upon him the great lie uttered against 
them by their commander on that former day. 

Victory hastened our marches. On the morning of the 27th, we entered 
El Paso. Awaiting the arrival of artillery, we lingered six weeks in the 
delicious settlements of El Paso. About 20,000 Mexicans here cultivate 
the grajDe, and enjoy much prosperity and a delicious climate. 

On the 9th of February, we moved on to Chihuahua. The interval, 280 
miles, if seen by you who inhabit this our verdant land, would be pro- 
nounced a howling desert, such is its austere and forbidding aridity — 
Sahara does not exceed it — -jornadas of 75 miles, without water, wood, or 
grass — gravel, sand, and rocks possess it merely — benumbing cold at night, 
at mid-day hot and dusty. 

On the 27th, we reached Sous, 40 miles from Chihuahua: midway 
between Sous and Chihuahua is Sacramento : here is the only water in 
that whole distance, and between us and the opportunity to slake our 
thirst, was entrenched the Mexican army. 

On the afternoon of the 28th, was gained the marvellous victory of 
Sacramento, in which your soldiers covered themselves with imperishable 
glory. On the following and succeeding days our whole column entered 

At Chihuahua we heard with exultation of the gallant conduct of the 
Cole Infantry and Fisher's Artillery, at Caiiada and Taos — of their good 
discipline and gallant bearing whilst in garrison at Santa Fe. These were 
soldiers of the first requisition, and tried with us the opening campaign of 
the prairies. Let us here, then, as at Chihuahua, crown with the same 
chaplet the soldiers of Brazito, Sacramento, Caiiada, Taos, and El Paso — ■ 
sharing alike the honors won by all. 

During two months did the Missouri column hold undisturbed pos- 
session of the metropolis of Chihuahua, and control its dependencies. 
Insurrections planned both here and at El Paso were anticipated and 
nipped in the germ. American traders and messengers traversed the State 
unharmed. It had been said that so small a force could not hold Chihua- 
hua. It loas done, and that with a firm and tranquil grasp. 

But the period of our service neared its close. From our own govern- 
ment not a whisper had reached us from the outstart — no pay — no ammu- 
nition (our cartridges were made of powder taken at Brazito) — no 
reinforcements — no money — no reminiscence of our own existence was 

General Wool had deflected from his first intentions, and never appeared 
at Chihuahua. On the 28th of April, Chihuahua was evacuated, in obe- 


dience to an order from General Taylor, that we should johi his column 
at Bucna Vista and Monterey. 

The march to Monterey, 650 miles, was accomplished in 29 days — 17 
pieces of artillery, with their caissons, and a train of 200 heavy wagons, 
accompanied us. It was upon this descent from the table lands to the 
maritime region, that our sufferings, from brackish water, suftbcating dust, 
night marches rendered necessary by long stretches and heat, were most 

Here, too, at El Paso, near the city of Parras, was won a glorious 
victory over the Camanche Indians, by a small handful of our gallant men, 
led by Captain Reid : 17 Indians bit the dust. 

From the outposts of the "southern army," beyond Buena Vista, we 
reached Camargo, on the Ilio del Norte, in nine days — j^assing through 
the cities of Saltillo, Monterey, and through Coralvo. 

Since the departure of the Missouri column from the western, border up 
to our return to our homes by the eastern border of our State, we have 
traversed the full distance of 7500 miles. 

No position of equal importance to that of Chihuahua has ever yet 
been held by the United States in IMexico, nor anywhere by so small a 
force. One thousand Missourians, occupying Chihuahua, cut off" from 
Mexico, New Mexico, and the two Californias in their rear. 

Fearing perpetually to be invaded, the States of Durango and Sonora 
withheld from the Mexican government all men, military supplies, or 
financial aid. The ample wealth, resources, mints, cannon, foundries, and 
materiel of Chihuahua were converted to oitr uses. 

Thus, then, by this central position, were held in check and severed from 
the enemy three-fifths of the territorial soil of the republic of Mexico, 
and 500,000 of her population. 

This position, too, commands the great and magnificent road which leads 
down the central table lands, through the capitals of Durango, Zacatecas, 
Aguas-Calientes, Leon, Guanaxuato, and Queretaro, to the city of Mexico. 
This route is unobstructed by mountains, and leads to Mexico through an 
abundant and very healthy region. It is the one by which the traders 
from Missouri annually visit the great " fair of San Juan" and the city of 

It appears to me that the column of Missouri is the only one which has 
made war with effect and obtained from it worthy results. To be sure, our 
government has thrown them away, as unworthy of notice, and worthless ; 
but this does not lessen our merits. 

In June, '40, when the Missouri column left Fort Leavenworth, Gen- 
eral Taylor's column was at Camaigo, ready to march on Mexico by the 


route of San Luis Potosi. In June, '47, the Missouri column, returning 
hy the Chdf, found Greneral Taylor's advance posts at Buena Vista, ONLY 
NINE days' march in advance of that same Camargo. 

To be sure, Taylor's column had won great victories ; hut so also had 
the column of Missouri, against a variety of enemies. 

The southern army lay helpless upon an unimportant edge of Mexico, 
hemmed in by guerrillas — such as we found it, its expenses amounted to 
$1,000,000 per week. 75,000 American soldiers had been sent in and 
out of Mexico in a single year in this direction. 

The numbers of soldiers had borne a small ratio to those employed in 
men-of-war, in fleets of transports and steamers, at the depots, and with 
wagon trains. Four months had been consumed advancing from the Del 
Norte to Monterey, 280 miles. Five months from Monterey to Saltillo, 
80 miles. Hence forward all has been complete stagnation. 

The possessions of the southern army are strictly confined to the dties 
of Monterey and Saltillo. A whole army is consumed in guarding from 
massacre and destruction the trains passing along the road that connects 
them with the Del Norte, only 300 miles. 

The column of Missouri supported itself from the Mexican purse. 
After fulfilling its orders completely, by the conquest of the States of 
New Mexico, Chihuahua, the two Californias, and punishing many Indian 
nations — closing its onward progress at Chihuahua, we have marched 600 
miles from the heart of the Mexican territory, coming out te Generals 
Taylor and Wool. 

Finally, one great result is proved by these various campaigns. It is hy 
the route of the plains and the table lands of Mexico ONLY, that the Mexi- 
can nation can he conquered and held in suhjection hy the Americans. 

The configuration of the country, the health, the supplies upon the 
route, its shortness, and the extraordinary results accomplished by the 
Missouri column, demonstrate this. The slender means and small cost of 
our campaign add more strong proofs of this. 

Fellow-countrymen and Ladies : The soldiers of the first requisition from 
Missouri, excepting those who sleep forever beneath the shadows of the 
Sierra Madre, have returned to receive the greetings of their friends and 
kindred. We bring with us the spoil of the enemy as trophies of our 

These assemblies — these crowds of fair women and brave men — these 
complimentary festivals and flattering words resounding in our ears from 
every village and from every cabin, are the gratifying rewards of our 
eff'orts and our deeds. 

Thus are our long-suspended hopes and painful anxieties consummated 


by a deep and gratifying sense of triumph. So have we performed oui- 
task, and such is our munificent reward. 

Suffer me to say, — as one elevated by their own suffrages to an impor- 
tant command among them, — as well to my fellow-soldiers as to those here 
present who have sons, or brothers, or friends among them, that I found 
at all times the most admirable discipline: the most prompt and spon- 
taneous obedience — at all times a modest unassuming bravery, which met 
thirst and cold and starvation and exhausting night marches, with songs 
and gayety and merriment. 

Displayed on the field and in the hour of battle by a quiet anxiety for 
the charge, and then plunging down upon the enemy with a fiery fury 
which overwhelmed them with defeat and stung them with despair. 
These qualities they adorned with moderation after victory, and clemency 
to the vanquished. 

But the career of your soldiers, so happily begun, closes not here. 
May they not yet devote their young energies to a country which they 
ardently love, and which thus generously illustrates its love for them ? 

War has been to our progressive nation the fruitful season of generating 
new offspring to our confederation. 

During the Revolution, little armies, issuing from the Alleghanies, passed 
over Kentucky, the Northwest Territory, and Tennessee. These new coun- 
tries had been reconnoitred and admired. With hardy frames, confirmed 
health, and recruited by a year or two of peace, these soldiers returned 
to occupy the choice spots which had been their bivouac and camping- 
grounds. From the campaigns of war grew the settlements of peace, and 
populous States displaced the wilderness. Another war came with another 
generation — armies penetrated Michigan, upper Illinois, and into Missis- 
sippi. The great Mississippi, crossed at many points, ceased to be a bar- 
rier, and the steamboat appeared, plowing its yellow flow. Five great 
States and 2,000,000 of people emblazon its western bank. 

And noic, again^ have come another generation and anothtr ivar. Your 
little armies have scaled the eternal barriers of the " Mother Mountain" 
of the New World, and, buried for a time in the mazes of its manifold 
peaks and ridges, have debouched at many points upon the briny beach 
of the Pacific. 

Passing round by the great oceans, a military marine simultaneously 
strikes the shore and lends them aid. Thus is the wilderness •. recon- 
noitred in war, its geography illustrated, and its conquerors disciplined. 

Your soldiers, resting for a time at home, will sally forth again, and, 
wielding the weapons of husbandry, give to you roads that will nurture 
commei'ce and a sisterhood of maritime States on the neic-fouhd ocean. 


We return, then, to tlie bosom of our glorious State, to bury our bound- 
ing hearts in the joys of responsive gratulations. Coming from arid 
wastes and the unreUeved steriHty of mountains and plains, to scan again 
the verdant fields and mautliug forests of our mother-land, which of us 
all does not apostrophize, with glowing hearts, pur native scenes ? — Hail to 
Columbia, land of our birth — hail to her magnificent domain — hail to 
her generous people — hail to her matrons and her maidens — hail to her 
victorious soldiers — all hail to her as she is — hail to the sublime destiny 
which bears her on through peace and war., to make the limits of the 
continent her own, and to endure forever ! 



It is with profound pleasure, Mr. Chairman, that I address my fellow- 
citizens here assembled to respond approvingly to the National Conven- 
tion at St. Louis. 

Having shared with the pioneers from Missouri in the original explora- 
tion and settlement of Oregon and California — ^having since been one 
among those soldiers who carried, during war, our national flag across 
the Sierra Madre, and planted it upon the waters descending to the Pacific 
(never thence to recede) — I greet with enthusiastic joy these civic move- 
ments of the people to consummate, with the great works of peace, what 
war and exploration have opened. 

Diplomacy and war have brought to us the completion of our territory 
and peace. From this we advance to the results. These results are, 
for the present, the imperial expansion of our republic to the other ocean : 
fraternity with Asia : and the construction across the centre of our ter- 
ritory, from ocean to ocean, of a great iron pathway, specially national 
to us, international to the northern continents of America, Asia, and 

In approaching a discussion of a " National Railroad from the Missis- 
sippi to the Pacific," infinite in number and variety are the matters which 
swarm up and demand to array themselves in its advocacy. Thus do I 
feel embarrassed how to say such things only as are true and sensible in 
themselves, as well as interesting to my hearers : let me,- then, sketch what 
I may say under the following heads : — 

1st. The national character of this work, and its necessity. 

2d. Its practicability, and the present capacity of the nation. 

3d. The time and manner of its construction. 

Progress, political liberty, equality. These, the most ancient and car- 
dinal rights of human society, perplexed in the obscurity of military des- 
potism, and almost lost for many centuries, are now struggling throughout 
/ 141 


the world to re-establish, their pre-eminence. In America they occupy 
the vantage-ground ; for sovereignty resides in the suffrage, and with us 
it is universal. 

Progress, then, in America has the intensity of the whole people, show- 
ing itself in forms as infinite as the thoughts of the human mind. But 
it is to that department of progress which creates for us new States in the 
wilderness, and expands the area of our Republic, that I here restrict 
myself. Let us understand this ; what it is at the present hour — what 
stimulates — what retards it. 

Since 1608 we have grown from nothing to 22,000,000 : from a gar- 
den-patch, to be thirty States and many Territories ! This, with agricul- 
ture, manufactures, commerce, power, and happiness, is our progress so 

The annual yield in money of this agriculture and manufactures is now 
$2,000,000,000. This commerce vexes all the waters and penetrates to 
all the nations of the earth. This power, tranquilly complete on our own 
continent, compels peaceful deference abroad. This happiness, so benefi- 
cently felt at home, recruits us with the oppressed of all nations. 

But the life of a nation is long. Unlike human life, briefly extin. 
guished in the grave, a nation breathes ever on with the vigor of genera- 
tions of men daily arriving at maturity, and then departing. A nation 
has then a normal law of growth ; and it is this law which every American 
citizen ought familiarly to understand, for obedience to it is the first duty 
of j)atriotism. 

Up to the year 1840, the progress whereby twenty-six States and four 
Territories had been established and peopled, had amounted to a solid 
strip of tioenty-Jive miles in depth, added annually, along the western face 
of the Union from Canada to the Gulf. 

This occupation of wild territorj^, accumulating outward like the 
annual rings of our forest trees, proceeds with all the solemnity of a 
Providential ordinance. It is at this moment sweeping onward to the. 
Pacific with accelerated activity and force, like a deluge of men, rising 
unabatedly, and daily pushed onward by the hand of Grod. 

It is from the statistics accumulated in the bureaux at Washington 
(the decennial census, sales of public lands, assessments of State and 
national taxes) that we deduce with certainty the law of this deluge of 
human beings, which nothing interrupts and no power can stop. 

Fronting the Union on every side is a vast ai-my of pioneers. This 
vast body, numbering 500,000 at least, has the movements and obeys the 
discipline of a perfectly organized military force. It is momentarily re- 
cruited by single individuals, families, and, in some instances, communities, 


from every village, county, city, and State in the Union, and by emi- 
grants from other nations. 

Each man in this moving throng is in force a platoon. He makes a 
farm upon the outer edge of the settlements, which he occupies for a year, 
and then sells to the leading files of the mass pressing up to him from 

He again advances twenty-five miles, renews his farm, is again over- 
taken, and again sells. As individuals fall out from the front rank, or fix 
themselves permanently, others rush from behind, pass to the front, and 
assail the wilderness in their turn. 

Previous to the late war with Mexico, this busy throng was engaged at 
one point in occupying the peninsula of Florida and lands vacated by 
emigrant Indian tribes — at another in reaching the copper region of Lake 
Superior — in absorbing Iowa and AVisconsin. 

From this very spot had gone forth a forlorn hope to occupy Oregon 
and California : Texas was thus annexed : the Indian country pressed 
upon its flanks ; and spy companies reconnoitring New and Old IMexico. 

Even then, obeying that mysterious and uncontrollable impulse which 
drives our nation to its goal, a body of the hardiest race that ever faced 
varied and unnumbered privations and dangers embarked upon the trail 
to the Pacific coast, forced their way to the end, encountering and def}^- 
ing dangers and difficulties unparalleled, with a courage and success the 
like to which the world has not heretofore seen. 

Thus, then, overland sweeps this tide-wave of population, absorbing in 
its thundering march the glebe, the savages, and the wild beasts of the 
wilderness, scaling the mountains and debouching down upon the sea- 

Upon the high Atlantic sea-coast, the pioneer force has thrown itself 
into ships, and found in the ocean-fisheries food for its creative genius. 
The whaling fleet is the marine force of the pioneer army. 

These two forces, by land and sea, have both worked steadily onward 
to the North Pacific. They now reunite in the harbors of Oregon and 
California, about to bring into existence upon the Pacific a commercial 
grandeur identical with that which has followed them upon the Atlantic. 

National wars stimulate progress, for they are the consequence of indis- 
creet opposition and jealousy of its march — and because in these periods 
of excitement the adventurous brush through the cobweb laws spun by 
the metaphysics of peace. Then it is that the jowng pioneers^ entering 
the armies of the frontier, rush out and reconnoitre the unpruned wilder- 

During the Revolution, little armies, issuing down the Alleghanies. 


passed over Kentucky, Tennessee, and tlie Northwest Territory. These 
new countries were reconnoitred and admired. With hardy frames, con- 
firmed health, and recruited by a year or two of peace, these soldiers 
returned to occupy the choice spots which had been their bivouac and 

From the campaigns of war grew the settlements of peace, and populous 
States displaced the wilderness. 

Another war came with another generation. Armies penetrated into 
Michigan, upper Illinois, and through Mississippi. The great Mississippi 
River, crossed at many points, ceased to be a barrier, and the steamboat 
appeared, plowing its yellow flood. Five great States, jive Territories, and 
three millions of people now emblazon its western side ! 

And now again have come another generation and another war. Your 
armies have scaled the icy barriers of the '■'■Mother Ilountain'^ and the 
Andes. Hid for a time in the mazes of their manifold peaks and ridges, 
they have issued out at many points upon the beach of the blue Pacific. 
Passing round by the great oceans, a military marine simultaneously strikes 
the shore and lends them aid. Thus is the wilderness reconnoitred in 
war, its geography illustrated, and its conquerors disciplined. 

Your young soldiers, resting for a moment at home, resuming the civic 
wreath and weapons of husbandry, have sallied forth again to give to you 
great roads for commerce and a sisterhood of maritime States on the new- 
found ocean. 

Only four years ago, the nation, misled by prejudices artfully instilled 
into the general mind, regarded the great Western wilds uninhabitable, and 
the new ocean out of reach. War came : 100,000 soldiers, and as many 
citizens, went forth, penetrated everywhere, and returned to relate in every 
open ear the wonderful excellence of the climates and countries they had 

Hence have come already these new States, this other seaboard, and the 
renewed vivacity of progress with which the general heart now palpitates. 
Will this cease or slacken ? Has the pouring forth of the stream from 
Europe ever ceased since the day of Columbus ? Has the grass obliterated 
the trails down the Alleghanies or across the Mississippi? Rather let him 
who doubts seat himself upon the bank of our magnificent river and await 
the running dry of its yellow waters ; for sooner shall he see this, than a 
cessation in the crowd now flowing loose to the loestern seaboard ! 

Grold is dug : lumber is manufactured : pastoral and arable agriculture 
grow apace ; a marine flashes into existence : commerce resounds : the fish- 
eries are prosecuted : vessels are built : steam pants through all the waters. 

Each interest stimulating all the rest, and perpetually creating novel- 


ties, a career ia commenced to which, as it glances across the Pacific, the 
human eye assigns no term. 

The distance from the top of the Sierra Madre (Rocky Mountains), 
where you leave behind the waters flowing to the Atlantic, is everywhere 
some 1500 miles. The topographical character of this ultramontane 
region is very grand and characteristic. It is identical with the region at 
the sources of the La Plata, Amazon, and Magdalena of South America, 
but more immense. 

Sketched by its great outlines, it is simply this : The chain of the 
Andes, debouching north from the Isthmus, opens like the letter Y into 
two primary chains (^Cordilleras). 

On the right the Sierra Madre, trending along the coast of the Mexi- 
can Gulf, divides the northern continent almost centrally, forming an un- 
broken water-shed to Behring's Strait. On the left, the .Andes follows 
the coast of the Pacific, warps around the Gulf of California, and, passing 
along the coast of California and Oregon (under the name of Sierra Nevada) 
terminates also near Behring's Strait. 

The immense interval between these chains is a succession of intra- 
montane basins, seven in number, and ranging from south to north. The 
whole forms the Great Plateau of the Table Lands. 

First, is the " Basin of the City of Mexico," receiving the interior 
drainage of both Cordilleras, which waters, having no outlet to either 
ocean, are dispersed again by evaporation. 

Second, the " Bolson de Mapimi," collecting into the Laguna the 
streams draining many States, from San Luis Potosi to Coahuila, also 
without any outflow to either ocean. 

Third, the " Basin of the Del Norte," whose vast area feeds the Rio 
del Norte, the Conchos and Pecos. These, concentrated into the Rio 
Grande del Norte behind the Sierra Madre, have, by their united volume, 
burst through its wall and found an outlet towards the Atlantic. The 
geological character of this basin, its altitude, its configuration and locality, 
all assign it this position, as distinguishing it from all others contributing 
their waters to the Atlantic. 

Fourth, the " Basin of the Great Colorado of the West." This im- 
mense basin embraces above, the great rivers Rio Verde and Rio Grande, 
whose confluent waters, penetrating the mighty Cordillera of the Andes 
athwart from base to base, discharge themselves into the Gulf of Cali- 
fornia. Into this sublime gorge (the Canon of the Colorado) the human 
eye has never swept, for an interval of 575 miles : so stern a character 
does Nature assume where such stupendous mountains resist the passage 

of such mighty rivers. 



Fifths the "Basin of the Great Salt Lake," like the Caspian of Asia, 
containing many small basins within one great rim, and losing its scattered 
waters by evaporation, has no outflow to either ocean. 

Sixth, the " Basin of the Columbia," lying across the northern flanks 
of the two last, and grand above them all in position and configuration. 
Many great rivers, besides the Snake and Upper Columbia, descend 
from the great arc of the Sierra Madre, where it circles towards the north- 
west from the 43d to Ihe 52d degree, flowing from east to west, and con- 
centrating above the Cascades into a single trunk. It here strikes the 
mighty Cordillera of the Andes (narrowed to one ridge), and disgorges 
itself through this sublime pass at once into the open Pacific. 

It is here, descending by the grade of this river the whole distance 
from the rim of the Valley of the Mississippi and through the Andes to 
the Pacific, that the great debouch of the American continent towards the 
west is found. Here will be the pathway of future generations, as the people 
of the Old World pass down the Mediterranean and out by Gribraltar. 

Above, the " Basin of Frazer River" forms a seventh of the Table 
Lands. This has burst a caiion through the Andes, and like the fourth 
and sixth basins, sends its waters to the Pacific. 

With the geography of the more northern region we are imperfectly 
acquainted, knowing, however, that from Puget's Sound to Behring's 
Strait, the wall of the Andes forms the beach itself of the Pacific, whilst 
the Sierra Madre forms the western rim of the basins of the Saskatchewan 
of Hudson Bay and the Athabasca of the Arctic Seas. 

Thus, then, briefly we arrive at this great cardinal department of the 
geography of the continent, viz. : The Table Lands — being a longitudi- 
nal section (about two-sevenths of its whole area) — intermediate between 
the two oceans, but walled off from both, and having but three outlets for 
its waters, viz., the cartons of the Rio Grande, the Colorado, and the 

Columnar basalt forms the basement of this whole region, and volcanic 
action is everywhere prominent. Its general level, ascertained upon the 
lakes of the different basins, is about 6000 feet above the sea. Rain 
seldom falls, and timber is rare. 

The ranges of mountains which separate the basins are often rugged 
and capped with perpetual snow, whilst isolated masses of great height 
elevate themselves from the plains. This whole formation abounds in the 
preciotis metals. Such is the region of the Table Lands. 

Beyond these is the maritime region ; for the great wall of the Andes, 
receding from the beach of the Pacific, leaves between itself and the sea 
a half- valley, as it were, forming the seaboard slope from San Diego to the 


Straits of Juan di Fuca. This is 1200 miles in length and 250 broad. 
Across it descend to the sea a series of fine rivers, ranging from south 
to north, like the little streams descending from the Alleghanies to the 

These are the San Gabriel, the Buenaventura, the San Joakim and 
Sacramento, the Rogue, Tlameth, and Umqua rivers, the Wallamette and 
Columbia, the Cowlitz, Chekalis, and Nasqually of Puget Sound. 

This resembles and balances the maritime slope of the Atlantic side of 
the continent : but it is vastly larger superficially : of the highest agri- 
cultural excellence : basaltic in formation : grand beyond the powers of 
description, the snowy points and volcanoes of the Andes being everywhere 
visible from the sea, whilst its climate is entirely exempt from the frosts 
of winter. 

Such, and so grand, is our continent towards the Pacific. Let us turn 
our glance towards the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, and scan the geography 
in our front. Four great valleys appear, each one drained by a river of 
the first magnitude. 

First. The Mississippi Valley, greatest in magnitude, and embracing 
the heart and splendor of the continent, gathers the waters of 1,500,000 
square miles and sheds them into the Gulf of Mexico. 

2d. The St. Lawrence, whose river flows into the North Atlantic. 

3d. The Nelson and Severn Rivers, into Hudson Bay. 

4th. The great valley of the McKensie River, rushing north into the 
Hyperborean Sea. 

These valleys, everywhere calcareous, have a uniform surface, gently 
rolling, but destitute of mountains, and pass into one another by dividing 
ridges, which distribute its own waters into each, but whose superior 
elevation is only distinguishable among the general undulations, by the 
water-sheds which they form. 

Around the whole continent, following the coasts of the oceans, runs a 
rim of mountains, giving the idea of a vast amphitheatre. Through this 
rim penetrate towards the south, east, and north, the above great rivers 
only, forming at their debouches the natural doors of the interior ; but no 
stream penetrates west through the Sierra Madre, which forms an un- 
broken water-shed from Magellan's to Behring's Strait. 

Thus we find more than three-fifths of our continent to consist of a 
limitless plain, intersected by countless navigable streams, flowing every- 
where from the circumference towards common centres : grouped in close 
proximity : and only divided by what connects them into one homogeneous 

To the American people, then, belongs this vast interior space, covered 


over its uniform surface of 2,300,000 square miles, with the richest 
calcareous soil : touching the snows towards the north, and the torrid 
heats towards the south : bound together by an infinite internal naviga- 
tion : of a temperate climate : and constituting, in the whole, the most 
magnificent dwelling-place marked out by God for man's abode. 

As the complete beneficence of the Almighty has thus given to us, 
the owners of the continent, the great natural outlets of the Mississippi 
to the Grulf, and the St. Lawrence to the North Atlantic, so is it left to a 
pious and grateful people, appreciating this goodness, to construct through 
the gorge of the Sierra Madre, a great artificial monument, an iron path, 
a National Railway to the Western Sea. 

Here we perceive, in the formation of the American continent, a sub- 
lime simplicity, a complete economy of arrangement, singular to itself, 
and the reverse of what distinguishes the ancient world. To understand 
this, let us compare them. 

Europe, the smallest of the grand divisions of the land^ contains in its 
centre, the icy masses of the AIjds ; from around their declivities radiate 
the large rivers of that continent : the Danube directly east to the 
Euxine ; the Po and Rhone, south to the Mediterranean ; the Rhine to 
the Northern Ocean. 

Walled off" by the Pyrenees and Carpathians, divergent and isolated, 
are the Tagus, the Elbe, and other single rivers, affluents of the Baltic, 
the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Euxine. 

Descending /y-om common radiant points, and diverging every way from 
one another, no intercommunication exists between the rivers of Europe : 
navigation is petty and feeble : nor have art and commerce, duiing many 
centuries, united so many small valleys, remotely isolated by impenetrable 

Hence upon each river dwells a distinct people, differing from all the 
rest in race, language, habits, and interests. Though often politically 
amalgamated by conquest, they again relapse into fragments, from innate 
geographical incoherence. The history of these nations is a story of 
perpetual war and mutual extermination. 

Exactly similar to Europe, though grander in size and population, is 
Asia. From the stupendous central barrier of the Himalayas run the 
four great rivers of China, due east^ to discharge themselves beneath the 
rising siin : towards the south run the rivers of Cochin China, the Ganges 
and the Indus : towards the loest the rivers of the Caspian : and north, 
through Siberia to the Arctic Seas, many rivers of the first magnitude. 

During fifty centuries, as now, the Alps and Himalaya Mountains 
have proved insuperable barriers to the amalgamation of the nations 


around their bases, and dwelling in the valleys which radiate from their 

The continent of Africa, as far as we know the details of its surface, 
is, even more than these, split into disjointed fragments. 

Thus the continents of the Old World resemble a bowl placed bottom 
upwards, which scatters everything poured upon it, whilst Northern 
America, right side up, receives and gathers towards its centre whatever 
falls within its rim ! 

Behold, then, the future of America, graven, in the geographical lines 
and arteries of her symmetrical, ocean-bound expanse ! Behold it fore- 
told in the oracular prophecies of past and present progress. 

In geography the antithesis of the Old World, in society it will be the 
reverse. Our North America will rapidly attain to a population equal- 
ling that of the rest of the world combined : forming a single people, 
identical in manners, language, customs, and impulses : preserving the 
same civilization, the same religion : imbued with the same opinions, and 
having the same political liberties. 

Of this we have two illustrations now under our eye : the one passing 
away, the other advancing. The aboriginal Indian race, among whom, 
from Darien to the Esquimaux, and from Florida to Vancouver's Island, 
exists a perfect identity in their hair, complexion, features, stature, and 
language. And second, in the instinctive fusion into one language and 
one new race, of immigrant Germans, English, French, and Spanish, whose 
individuality is obliterated in a single generation ! 

At this moment, the maritime policy, planned with dark genius, and pur- 
sued with sci'upulous selfishness, palls our march. Nothing behind us in 
history at all rivals in rapidity of growth, in wealth, power, and splendor, 
those States masking the seaboard, and called at home " the Old Thirteen." 

Here are cities (and a great number of them) surpassing, at one cen- 
tury old, those of a thousand years upon the old continents ! 

The States have swelled as fast. This admirable greatness is due to the 
mastery of the continent which they exercise by majorities in the national 
councils, to the immense income of revenue which they thus collect and 
use, and to their monoj^oly of all foreign commerce. 

A new and rival seaboard — " a New 77iirteen" — would halve and dis- 
tribute all of these. It was foreseen how progress, travelling centrally 
across the continent, was striding point-blank to this consummation. To 
retard this, indefinitely, arose the maritime policy, invented by sophistry, 
and sustained by metaphysics. 

Mr. Jefferson having, with consummate prescience, added to our domain 
the Louisiana purchase : the most splendid portion of the habitable globe: 


hastened to give it popTxlation and a maritime wing to the Pacific. Ex- 
plorations under Clarke and Lewis, and others, followed by Astor's enter- 
prise, opened, forty years ago, the great commercial route between the 
oceans, since shut up by the maritime policy, but now reopened. 

These were checked and overthrown by the exigencies of foreign war. 
That over, the discussion of a route to Asia was revived by the press and 
in Congress : Astor sought to renew his enterprises, and aid was demanded 
from the government by the people of the West, and by patriotic indi- 
viduals in the East. This was refused by the policy of President Monroe's 
administration, in whose cabinet were conjoined Messrs. J. Q. Adams, of 
Massachusetts, and J. C. Calhoun, of South Carolina — subtle statesmen 
of the most penetrating foresight and the loftiest ambition. 

Power emigrates as time rolls on. The pride and fascination of its 
possession linger supremely potent in the human heart. From this pro- 
found source has sprung the unequitable maritime policy, arrayed against 
the march of progress and the westward migration of power. 

The former State, Massachusetts, had proclaimed a national war uncon- 
stitutional, and initiated at Hartford the preparatory plans to secede from 
and dissolve the Union. The latter, South Carolina, has done the same, 
pronouncing the general power of taxation unconstitutional in a particular 
form ; and now again appear the same dreadful threats of " force and 
terror," pronouncing unconstitutional a specific legislation for the Terri- 

Behind this gorgon of alarm (^Nullification^, and unperceived by the 
general mind, lashed into dismay and distracted by " terror and force," 
threatening the Union, the subtle maritime policy has been riveted down. 
Within the" young States, the public glebe has been held by the central 
government and withheld from taxation. Thus is State revenue cut off. 

These public lands are held at a tyrannical price, the sales naade cash, 
donations of homestead rights, pre-emption, and graduation refused. 
Savages, ejected from the older States, have been bought up and planted 
as a wall along the western frontier and across the line of progress. These 
are metaphysically called foreign nations. 

Recently there has been given to the soldiers of the nation a bounty of 
$100 in money, or $200 in land. This is legislative declaration that the 
price is 100 per cent, above their highest value. 

The revenue raised from the customs is collected at the seaports, where 
the expenses of collection are disbursed. The heavy part of this revenue 
is paid by the agriculturists of the West, who are the consumers. $3,000,000 
annually of direct land revenue is exclusively paid by these latter. 

But where is this splendid income of $40,000,000, thus levied for the 


most part from Western industry, expended ? To tlie navy is devoted 
$9,000,000 (all upon the tide-waters of the seaboard). To the civil list 
$5,000,000 — all there also. To seaboard improvements, viz. : custom- 
houses, mints, harbors, breakwaters, fortifications, navy-yards, light-houses, 
coast survey, post-offices, armories, etc., $2,500,000. All this too is upon 
the tide-water. 

To the army $5,000,000 — this is expended on a military academy, ord- 
nance foundries, four artillery regiments, engineers — all upon the seaboard. 
True it is that a few stingy details of cavalry and infantry are posted in 
shanties upon the Western frontier, and a largess of half a million sowed 
among the Indians. But the single fortress of " Old Point Comfort" 
has cost more than the sum total of Western military structures. 

Thus do we come at one cardinal item of maritime power — $40,000,000 
collected annually from thirty States, of which $39,000,000 is annually 
paid out to thirteen only ! Such is the income which maritime policy 
secures to itself by taxation. 

Further, the foreign exports and imports amount to $350,000,000 per 
annum — every pound of this leaves our shores or comes to us in the ships 
of these maritime States, and is stored at their seaports. To them, then, 
belongs the complete and prodigious monopoly of the carrying trade of 
America ! 

Is it wonderful, then, that a policy should have been projected with 
foresight and pursued with obstinate will, to preserve to its possessors an 
income so splendid, and a monopoly of such infinite profit ? With these 
maritime States, too, rests the political mastery of the continent : because 
they have as yet always had the majority of the Houses of Congress, and 
still retain that in the House of Representatives, in spite of the accession 
of Texas, Iowa, and Wisconsin, which have changed the Senate. 

It is the decennial census of 1850 which will give in the thirty-third 
Congress a majority to this great indigenous American people, residing 
within the mountains, in the great basins of the continent. To them will 
belong the glorious task to give to the public domain its true, patriotic 
use, and root out the scorching tyranny, of which it is now the engine. 

To make taxation and the expenditures of revenue national and equal 
among the States and people. To pay, not grind, the pioneers. To reverse 
the uses of the national wilderness, so that its glebe shall be the beneficent 
fountain of great roads, unlimited agriculture, population, commerce, and 
rich States. To give us maritime rivalry, and a new seaboard. To recon- 
cile the white man and the Indian, now kept by infamous laws in a state 
of implacable feuds and mutual piracy. 

It is very wicked that our government, being republican, has ravished 


republican liberty and rigbts from the Indian, and re-enacted for his race 
all tbe odious inequalities and oppressions of feudality. 

The set purpose of maritime policy to crush progress developed itself 
with the admission into the Union of Missouri, a State beyond the Mis- 
sissippi, and aalient upon the routes and rivers towards the Pacific. 

A wall of Indians was planted along the frontier from the Missouri to 
the Red River. These foreign nations ! were planted upon soil which 
they could not sell. Commerce was prohibited, and the white man for- 
bidden entrance under penitentiary imprisonment. The army, its duties 
reversed, was withdrawn from danger, and planted on the line to bayonet 
back the pioneers. 

By these nefarious sophistries it was designed to fence across the 
pioneer army in front. Hush-money to the amount of $85,000,000 was 
paid to get these Indians out of the older States for the use of the fron- 
tier. In combination with this it was necessary to gain a maritime ex- 
tension, and the national purse was opened. A couple of thousand Indians 
were discovered in the pocket of East Florida — the Semincles and Micka- 

Ten years of terrible war, during which 100,000 military emigrants 
and $45,000,000 had supplied the material of a State to balance Michi- 
gan, brought about a treaty allowing those tribes to remain among the 
Everglades ! During this time Indian piracies swarmed over the Great 
Plains and upon the commercial roads to Mexico and the mountains. 
Many hundred whites and innumerable Indians fell beneath the toma- 
hawk. Protection, military police, and revenge were denied at Washing- 
ton. Not a dollar was here disposable, for these terrors of the wilderness 
helped the policy which kept it so. 

The reannexation of Texas was consummated. This was a maritime 
State, extending the shell of maritime influence farther round the conti- 
nent. Texas owed debts — some $7,000,000. Her public lands were 
speciously left to her to pay them — 208,000,000 of acres, by valuation 
$260,000,000, to pay $7,000,000 of debts ! 

Is it, then, by chance or by design that the great domain is to one 
State the source of imperial revenues and advancement, to another of 
poverty and repression? Express laws of Congress produce these ex- 

To understand this rightly, let us examine it. The soil of Missouri is 
held, until sold, at $1.25 per acre by the central government. At present 
$600,000 per annum is extracted in specie through the land offices. Thus 
are we impoverished. Two-thirds of our soil is withheld from State taxa- 
tion. As real estate is the substantial source of State revenue, no public 


enterprises, no geological surveys, no internal improvements, not even 
highways and bridges, are possible in Missouri. 

Our insignificant State and county revenues fall with onerous weight 
upon less than one-third of the glebe lands, upon personal property, and 
licenses. The disastrous wreck suiFered by Mississippi, Illinois, and other 
new States is proof enough of this. 

How is this reversed in Texas ? An immense domain fills her treasury 
— she taxes and sells for taxes at will — unlimited credit and resources 
invite her to construct the greatest works, without danger. By reducing 
and graduating the price of lands, she invites forth the agriculturists of our 
States, and warps progress towards the Gulf. On the pledge of her public 
lands she may herself alone procure means to construct a railroad to the 
Pacific ! Across the western frontier is unobstructed access to the 
8,000,000 of Mexicans ! Western commerce, then, walled in and made 
piracy in Missouri, crushed and persecuted, must migrate hence to Texas. 

Again, war with Mexico arose. This was a land war of armies, be- 
tween nations having a common frontier of many thousand miles. A 
single American army of 30,000 cavalry and flying artillery, marching by 
the magnificent road from Fort Leavenworth, passing by the great table 
lands to the city of Mexico, and subsisting their animals of food and 
transportation upon the pastures, would have conquered and held all the 
Mexican States in eighteen months. 

Forty millions of expenditure would have brought peace on our own 
dictation — great roads for commerce would have been established forever, 
and the disbursements returned to us in the ceded territory. A war thus 
economically conducted, however, would have opened the avenue and 
planted central States to the new seaboard. 

But fleets of transports must plow the Gulf, and the maritime States 
of Jacinto and Sierra Madre extend to embrace Tampico. One hundred 
thousand soldiers were sent to the impracticable entrance by Saltillo and 
Potosi — one hundred millions expended upon this army, which, stagnating 
upon the waters of the Rio Grande, never passed beyond them ; for 
Saltillo is upon an afiluent of the Rio Grande, and only 250 miles from 
its main bank. Thus was profligately re-enacted the drama of the State 
of Florida. 

The maritime policy hX^n^s. the double object of blocking up the inte- 
rior, and extending the seaboard in a shell around the continent. For 
this the navy is enormously increased and the army emasculated. Enter- 
prises in the central States are marred, but those of the seaboard sus- 
tained directly from the National Treasury. Of this let us take a recent 


A proposition was submitted to ttie Twenty-nintli Congress, early in its 
first session (1845-46) to carry onward to the coast of California and 
Oregon, and to Santa Fe, monthly, the mail which comes tri-weekly to 
our city of Independence. 

A law authorizing the Postmaster-Greneral to let the contract for such 
an extended mail-route to the lowest bidder, in the ordinary way, was 
alone required. Contractors were ready to execute the whole undertaking 
for $50,000 per annum, carrying the mails in fifteen days, making the 
time from ocean to ocean twenty five days. 

This proposition, admirable for its practicability, its economy in time 
and cost, was belabored by orators and suppressed. To this hour all over- 
land mails are prohibited by statute. 

At this same session of this same Congress, and under the promptings 
of these orators, the government was, by statute, made the partner with 
ship-building companies of New York City. To construct four mail 
steamers, the sum of $1,250,000 was advanced to these companies, to 
whom was also given the monopoly of future government transportation 
for ten years. 

The transportation of o\ir mails through the Isthmus is confided to the 
Spaniards of New Granada ! All this enormous expenditure has pro- 
duced at the end of four years, an uncertain monthly mail, outside of our 
country : and exposed to the hostilities of the whole world : which trav- 
erses 9000 miles of sterile ocean in fifty days ! In the interval the con- 
tracts have been doubled in amount by doubling the size and cost of the 
ships. It is a condition of these contracts that these " mail steamers" 
may be appraised and purchased by government for the navy. Thus is 
the navy clandestinely increased by eight or a dozen war steamers. 

Thus, whilst we may transport the domestic mails between our distant 
people and seaboards through the heart of our territories, every inch upon 
our own soil, and 1000 miles from any foreign foe or frontier — whilst this 
can be done and is offered to be done, by our citizens, for prices at which 
the mails will yield remunerating revenues — whilst this admits of an in- 
crease to daily mails at any time, and a reduction of time to one-half — 
whilst this allows of innumerable way mails, telegraphs, and the most 
intimate domestic intercourse — involves neither increase of military force 
nor expenditures by sea or land, and avoids the possibility of foreign inter- 
ference or molestation — opening roads and crowding them with population 
and settlements — concentrating to the seaport where it reaches the Pacific, 
tbe American shipping and business on that ocean, at once creating a great 
American emporium. 

Instead of all this, which is sensible and natural, and understood by our 


people, whose cardinal rigid it is to have the circulation of their domestic 
thoughts and business through home channels which are short, safe, and 
expeditious ! Yes, instead of this, we are taxed millions, to have our 
letters sent 9000 miles in fifty days, under the equator, by sea, through 
foreign nations : exposed to delay, dangers, and destruction in every form, 
ruflBing the jealousies of rival nations, and exposed to their cannon — and 
all this to fill the maws of maritime speculators and political ambition. 

Such are a few examples of a policy hourly influencing our glorious 
State for weal or woe, whose efi'ect upon you, my fellow-citizens, fills me 
with the most puzzling astonishment. You drop your own interests with 
facility when told they are difficult and inexpedient, and stand at ease, 
whilst rival enterprises, planned to destroy you, and a thousand times 
more difficult, costly, and fanciful, are finished completely ! 

Mr. Chairman, eloquence is not nurtured in the depths of the silent 
wilderness, and there have I passed my youth. Did I possess those graces 
of language and polished elocution, which many youths, my cotempo- 
raries, trained in the courts and halls of legislation, ought to do, then 
should my voice sound, like the rappel beat on John de Zitzka's skin, 
into every cabin of our glorious State ; to call forth her citizens, and, 
roused from their ignoble apathy, animate them to resume their stolen 
rights and vindicate their crippled honor. For this apathy is, towards 
this our State and our nation, the crime of the sentinel slumbering on his 

The configuration of the Sierra Madre (^the Mother Mountain of the 
world) is transcendently massive and sublime. Rising from a base- 
ment whose roots spread out two thousand miles and more : its crest splits 
almost centrally the Northern continent, and divides its waters to the two 

Novel terms have been introduced to define its characteristics. Mesa, 
expresses the level plateaux of its summits. Canon^ the gorges rent in 
its slopes by the descending rivers. Bute, the conical mountains isolated 
and trimmed into symmetrical peaks by atmospheric corrosion. 

Everybody has seen the card-houses built by children in the nursery. 
Suppose three of these in a row, having a second story over the centre: 
this toy familiarly delineates a transverse section of the Sierra IMadre. 
This upper story represents the central, primary mesa of the Cordillera — 
its summit a great plain, descending on both flanks by a perpendicular 
wall of 6000 feet to the level of the second mesa or steppe. 

Towards the icest the second mesa fills the whole space to the Andes, 
whose farther side descends abruptly to the tide-level of the Pacific. This 
is again what has been before described at length as the Great Table 


Lands. But towards the east, the second mesa forms a piedmont, rent 
into peaks by the fissures of innumerable streams. 

This piedmont, called by us the Black Hills, masks the front of the 
Sierra Madre, from end to end. So completely is it torn and rent by the 
perplexity of water-courses, that patches alone are left to define the origi- 
nal plateau. These are the eastern envelope of the basin of the Yellow- 
stone, the Laramie plain (between the Plattes), the Ratone, and the Llano 
Estacado of Texas. 

Beneath this the tMrd mesa (or steppe), is that superlative region, the 
Great Prairie Plains, whose gentle slope forms a glacis to the Gulf 
through Texas: and in front to the trough formed by the Mississippi 
River from Itasca Lake to the Balize. Neither are the other three basins 
of the St. Lawrence, Hudson Bay, and Athabasca anything else but pro- 
longations of this same glacis, sloping towards the east and north. 

It is this vastness of geographical configuration which leads the glance 
of the engineer with unerring certainty to that line of natural grades from 
ocean to ocean, the discovery of which mankind now awaits with the keen- 
est curiosity, and along which the American nation is resolved to construct 
the consummate work of art — the Asiatic and European Railway. 

Advancing north along the comb of the Sierra Madre from below 
Mexico, you find at the sources of the Platte (Sweetwater) a wide gap, 
where, the high mesa suddenly giving out for the space of forty miles, 
the second mesa passes through from east to west, the continued water- 
ridge being scarcely perceptible among its gentle undulations. 

This is the South Pass. It is so named as being the most southern 
pass to which you may ascend by an affluent of the Atlantic and step 
immediately over on to a stream descending directly to the Pacific. This 
name is as ancient as the pass itself 

Into it concentrate the great trails of the bufialo, geographers and road 
makers by instinct, before the coming of man. The Indian, the Mexican, 
and the American, successors of one another, have not improved or de- 
flected from the instincts of the bufialo, nor will they whilst the moun- 
tains last in their present unshattered bulk. 

The South Pass has a towering grandeur, in keeping with the rivers 
between which it is the avenue (the Missouri, the Colorado, and the 
Columbia), all of which, issuing from the wall of the Wind River Moun- 
tain, come out of it on to the second mesa, at the same level, and into 
which they immediately commence burrowing their canons of descent to 
the seas. 

Here, then, is the route, the Southern route, of the National Railroad, 
ascending by the water-grade of the Platte on to the top of the second 


mesa, where it forms the summit, following the lerel of this mesa along 
the base of the high mesa, to the Columbia (Snake River), and descend- 
ing its Avater-grade clear out to the Pacific. 

The distance from the Platte to the Columbia has not been accu- 
rately ascertained, though by the present wagon road, which crosses a 
corner of the Salt Basin, it is less than 300 miles. Here is that double 
inclined plane, to find which has been the first essential in every work of 
art existing in the world. 

There is none south of this, because everywhere the basins of the Table 
Lands overlap and envelop one another, so that the passes lead merely 
from one of these into another : nor are there any natural tunnels through 
the precipitous walls of the Andes, and between the basins. 

The Columbia, running across the Table Lands from east to west, dis- 
tributes the descent of 8500 feet, equally along its course of 1200 miles, 
and tunnels the great ranges of Blue Mountains and the Andes. This 
whole course of the river is a continuity of rapids having three falls — the 
American Falls of 30 feet at Portneuf, the Salmon Falls of 45 feet, 200 
miles below, and the Chuttes of 12 feet, near the Dalles. 

This river-grade is then as rapid as the descent to be accomplished will 
admit of; for, distributed into long levels and steep grades, it would im- 
mensely impair the utility of the whole work, and fatally impede trans- 

The great Colorado runs diagonally across the Table Lands, debouch- 
ing into the Grulf of California ; but has its course and those of its great 
affluents, parallel with the mountain ranges, which are scored with un- 
fathomed canons, perplexing the traveller with an infinity of impassable 
ridges, among which the water-courses are embowelled. 

North of the South Pass, however, exist many single passes where the 
higher branches of the Missouri and Columbia interlock. These circui- 
tous routes have all the same termini as that of the South Pass, for they 
also descend the same two rivers to the seas. Thus between the South 
Pass and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec there^xists no railroad route, owing 
to the longitudinal courses of the rivere, the complexity of the basins, and 
the double barrier of primary mountain chains. 

To the north, other passes exist, which future generations may develop, 
and on which navigation may be used for four-fifths of the whole dis- 
tance. True it is that potential fashion now exalts the little maritime 
basin of California, San Francisco Bay, into the haven of hope and fortune 
of the new seaboard, whilst the sublime basin of the Columbia, and its 
magnificent river harbor, are banished from public fiivor. 

The basin of San Francisco is small, tropical in climate, sterile, and the 


most isolated spot, to reach from tlie interior, on the whole coast of the 
Pacific. No great river gives it access to the Mississippi Valley, from 
which it is cut off by the basins of the Salt Lake, the Colorado, and the 
Del Norte, overlapping each other. 

The Columbia is larger than the Danube, and equal to the Ganges. In 
size, climate, agricultural excellence, capacity for population, and its won- 
derful circular configuration, the basin of the Columbia surpasses both of 
these others. 

The mouth of the Columbia, a salient point upon the open coast, more 
than any other central and convenient to the whole North Pacific and 
Asia, is in size, depth of water, safety and facility of ingress or egress, 
equal to San Francisco. As the mouth of the greatest river descending 
from our continent into the Pacific, it is infinitely before it. It is eight 
degrees south of Liverpool, having the climate of Bordeaux, Marseilles, 
or Savannah. 

Why is not the deep sea navigation concentrated at Norfolk or Hamp- 
ton. Roads, the finest harbor of the whole Atlantic? Why rather is it 
found at New York and New Orleans, accessible only through every dan- 
ger that can menace shipping? Why, because the former is the outlet 
of the basin of the St. Lawrence, the latter of the Mississippi. The ship- 
ping of commerce goes to where cargoes can be found. 

Less than fifty years ago, fashion pronounced the little ravines of James 
River and the Connecticut the proud spots of America, and held the great 
uninhabitable wastes of the Mississippi and its unnavigated streams as 
worthy only to balance codfish! This same splenetic spirit oi fashion 
now manufactures a similarly ridiculous misdirection for the energy of the 
pioneers, by setting up what the geologist would call a " pot-hole of the 
Andes," against the grand Columbia. 

Commerce, provident like every other department of industry, makes 
herself harbors with charts, pilots, buoys, and beacons. The shallowest 
channel of the Columbia has thirty-five feet water — the deepest of New 
York, twenty-nine. 

Climate distinctly controls the migrations of the human race, which has 
steadily adhered to an isothermal line around the world. The extremely 
mild climate of our Western seaboard is only the consequence of the same 
great laws of nature which operate in Western Europe. These are the 
regular and fixed ordinances of the code of nature, to which the migra- 
tions of man, in common with the animal, yield an instinctive obedience. 
Within the torrid zone and up to 30° of the Northern hemisphere, blow 
the trade tciiids and variables, constantly from the east and northeast all 
around the world ; but the upper halves of elliptical orbits followed by the 


winds lie in the temperate zone, from 35° to 60°, within which the winds 
flow constantly from the west and southwest all around the world. 

These winds reach the tcesterii coasts of America and Europe alter trav- 
ersing the expanse of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Warmed to the 
same temperature as these oceans, they impart again this same mild atmos- 
phere to the maritime fronts of the continents which receive them. These 
same winds, passing onward over great extensions of continent of low tem- 
perature, covered with snow, or frozen during winter, often warped upward 
by mountain ranges, becoming exhausted of their warmth, have upon the 
eastern portions of both hemispheres an exactly opposite effect upon the 

Hence the variant temperature of New York and Lisbon, which face 
one another on the opposite coasts of the Atlantic — of Pekin and San 
Francisco, similarly opposite upon the Pacific. At San Francisco and 
Lisbon the seasons are but modulations of one continuous summer. At 
New York and Pekin, winter suspends vegetation during seven months, 
whilst ice and snow bridge the land and waters. These four cities are all 
close upon the same parallel of latitude, the 40th degree. 

It is here manifest how in Asia the masses of population lie below the 
40th degree, in Europe above, and again (so far) in America, curving 
downward on the eastern face of our continent, to rise again to the north 
upon the warm coast of the Pacific. 

Thus has the zodiac of nations, our own nation similarly with the rest, 
pursued a serpentine line of equal temperatwe, retaining all around the 
world similar employments, similar industrial pursuits, similar food and 
clothing, requiring similarity of climate, and recoiling alike from the torrid 
and the arctic zones. 

The scientific men of the nation- oppose the National Railroad — so 
did those of Europe persecute Galileo and Columbus. Science, like 
the army and navy, is fed from the national revenues, which maritime 
policy distributes to all that serve its ends. Science is rare ; the spurious 
quackery of science redundant. It is not the scientific doctors of the 
schools, the bureaux and military wings of government, that have hewed 
out this republican empire from the wilderness. 

This has been reared by the genuine heroism and sublime instincts of 
the pioneer arm^/, unpaid, unblessed, nay, scoffed and loaded with burdens 
by government and its swarm of dependents. To bridle progress has 
been the policy of thirty years. To keep the people out of the wilderness. 
To refuse Territorial governments, and prevent Territories from becoming 

At this moment scientific men arc especially busy distracting us with 


multitudinous routes and invented difficulties : devised to perplex and 
scatter the energies of the citizens : whose unanimous resolve it is to 
plow open a great central trail to the Pacific. 

Science cannot unmake the eternal ordinances of nature, and reset the 
universe to suit local fancies and idle fashion. It is the humble duty of 
science to investigate nature as she is, and promulgate the truths discover- 
able for the guidance of governments and men. 

The experience gained from the great works constructed by the last 
generation, in digging through the Alleghanies routes for commerce to 
the Atlantic, settles for us the rules that shall guide us across the Sierra 
Madre to the Pacific. 

In 1818 the State of New York cut through the low and narrow ridge 
between Rome and Syracuse, the former on an affluent of the Hudson, 
the latter of Lake Ontario. Thus the Jirst expenditures, perforating 
the dividing mountain, let through that infant commerce, which in thirty 
years has grown to such a grandeur of quantity and profit, that this great 
thoroughfare is itself quadrupled in capacity and lengthened out to Mon- 
treal, to Boston, to New York City, and into Pennsylvania, towards the 

Westioard, it reaches through Ohio and Indiana to the Ohio River : and 
by the Illinois and Wisconsin Rivers to the Missouri and Mississippi. 

What the single State of New York, of 1,200,000 population, accom- 
plished by her own intrinsic bravery and resources, undismayed by ridicule 
and unappalled by the then experimental character of such works in a 
republic and upon our continent: — just such a work now invites the 
national bravery, power, and wealth of this imperial repi/blic : namely, 
to lay, over the dividing barrier of the Sierra Madre, along the floor of 
its natural tunnel at the South Pass, an iron pathway : which, descend- 
ing the grades of the Platte and Columbia to the highest points of navi- 
gation, shall let through the first infant stream of that supreme Oriental 
commerce, whose annually expanding flood will, during our generation, 
elongate its arms and fingers through all the States and to every harbor 
of the two seaboards ! 

Climate : the configuration of the continent : the location of our States 
and people : the isothermal line of progress : the high latitudes of the ultra- 
oceanic nations here locate the " National Railroad." The climate is here 
most favorable : because the whole region from the Missouri to the Colum- 
bia, far removed from any ocean, is so dry as to be free from rains in 
summer and snows in winter. ^■ 

Thus the snows within the South Pass itself are not so deep as upon 
the St. Lawrence, or between Boston and Buffalo. Upon the Wind River 



Mountain there is no snow in summer, at an altitude where it is perpetual 
on the Andes beneath the equator and near the ocean ! 

On the Table Lands rain and snow are so rare that they may be said 
never to occur. This obstruction, then, stated on theory to be fatal, has no 
existence — whilst this route, pursuing great rivers all the way, has abun- 
dance of water. Mineral coal is abundant from end to end. Lumber and 
rock infinite in quantity and convenient in position. 

It is, then, I repeat, through the heart of our Territories, our popula- 
tion, our States, our farms and habitations, that we need this broad current 
of commerce. Where passengers and cargo may, at any time or place, 
embark upon or leave the vehicles of transportation. 

It is foul treason to banish it from the land : from among the people : 
to force it on to the barren ocean : outside of society : through foreign 
nations : into the torrid heats and along solitary circuitous routes, im- 
prisoned for months in great ships. 

This central railroad is an essential domestic institution: more power- 
ful and permanent than law, or popular consent: to thoroughly complete 
the great systems of fluvial arteries which fraternize us into one people : 
to bind the two seaboards to this one nation, like ears to the human head : 
to radicate the foundations of the Union so broad and deep, and render 
its structure so solid, that no possible force or stratagem can shake its 
permanence : and to secure such scope and space to progress, that pros- 
perity and equality shall never be impaired or chafe for want of room. 

What, sirs, are these populous empires of Japan and China, now be- 
come our neighbors ? They are the most ancient, the most highly civil- 
ized, the most polished of the earth. 

It was from Sinim (China) that the Judean king Solomon imported 
the architects, the mechanics, the furniture of his gorgeous temple. 
Hence, the Tyrians brought tapestry, carpets, shawls of wool, cotton and 
silk fabrics, wares of porcelain and metals, dyes, gums, and spices, jewels 
polished and set. 

Hence, came the climax of all human inventions, letters and figures, 
which fix language and numbers, making them eternal : astronomy, arith- 
metic, algebra, decimals, chemistry, printing, navigation, agriculture, and 

All these, erroneously ascribed as the inventions of the Arabs or to the 
exiles of Constantinople, who brought them into Western Europe, are the 
creations of Oriental genius and study. 

Tea, sugar : the peach produced from the wild almond : the orange 
from the sour lime : the apple from the crab : the fruits : the flowers : the 
vegetables of our gardens, are the creations of Chinese horticultural science. 


The horse, cattle, the swine and poultry of our farms, come to us from 
thence. The culture of the cereal grains, wheat, rice, barley bread, wine, 
the olive and silk, have come to us from the farthest Orient. Hence also 
came gunpowder, the magnetic needle, and calomel. The paints, varnish, 
and tools of the art have come, and the remedies used in pharmacy. 

Our historic records, commencing with the arrival of progressive civil- 
ization at the extremity of the Mediterranean, relate from tradition the 
antique empire of Bacchus and the religion of Zoroaster upon the Granges 
and the Indus. The Chaldeans of the Persian Sea followed. Fleets 
came from the extreme Orient into the Bengal Sea, the Persian Gulf, and 
the Red Sea ; and caravans overland by the Oxus and the Caspian brought 
the camel, the horse, cattle, manufactured wool, silks, cotton, and metals, 
agriculture, commerce, and coin. 

Empires expanding westward along the Ganges, the Euphrates, and 
the Nile, reached to the Mediterranean and Euxine. From Egypt, Phoe- 
nicia, and Colchis (Trebisond), sprang European Greece. 

Such as Progress is to-day, the same has it been for ten thousand years. 
It is the stream of the human race flowing from the east to the west, im- 
pelled by the same divine instinct that pervades creation. By this track 
comes the .'un diurnally to cheer the world. Thus come the tides of men 
and of the waters : learning : law : religion : the plague : the smallpox : 
and the cholera. The sources of life and happiness — the pestilence that 
saddens both. 

These empires of which we have spoken have left upon the ground they 
occupied their uames, political society, their organized systems of gov- 
ernment and religion. Does not society, then, once founded become 
perennial ? It is within a belt of the earth straddling the 40th degree 
of north latitude that the greatest mass of land surrounds the world, and 
where the continents most nearly approach. 

Within this belt (from 30° to 50°) four-fifths of the human race is 
assembled, and here the civilized nations, of whom we possess any history, 
have succeeded one another, commencing at the farthest extremity of 
Asia, and forming a zodiac towards the setting sun. 

This succession has flowed onward in an even course, undulating along 
an isothermal line, until in our time the ring is about to close around the 
earth's circumference, by the arrival of the American nation on the coast 
of the Pacific, which looks over on to Asia. 

In this age and in this march of human race, as elsewhere : the bold, 
energetic, and indomitable : the picked spirits of the world lead the van ; 
and such is the pioneer army. 

What means that expression in the Declaration of Independence, "life, 


liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" ? What brought the Cavaliers to 
Virginia in 1608 ? It was " the pursuit of happiness." What animated 
the Pilgrims to endure the rigors of Plymouth Rock ? Why, " the pur- 
suit of happiness." What sought Boone and his companions plunging a 
thousand miles into the wilderness? This same " pursuit of happiness." 
What secret motive now brings foreigners to our shores, and impels our 
own citizens onward to the Pacific? Again, it is " the pursuit of happi- 

Progress^ then, is one of the immortal rights sanctified in the Charter 
of human liberty. Why, then, is advent into the wilderness — the field 
for the discontented, the oppressed, the needy, the restless, the ambitious, 
and the virtuous, thus closed by a policy at once sinister, nefarious, and 
unconstitutional ? 

Unquiet for our sacred Union is this present time, when political 
power, about to cross the Alleghanies, see-saws on their crests, counting 
the days that precede her eternal transit over them ! 

It is by the rapid propagation of new States : the immediate occupation 
of the broad platform of the continent : the aggregation of the Pacific 
Ocean and Asiatic commerce : that inquietude will be swallowed up, and 
the murmurs of discontent lost in the onward sound of advancement. 
Discontent, distanced, will die out. 

The immense wants of the Pacific will draw off, over the Western out- 
lets, the over-teeming crops of the Mississippi Valley. Thus will the 
present seaboard States resume again their once profitable monopoly 
of the European market, relieved from the competition of the interior 

The cotton and rice culture of Georgia and the Carolinas will revive. 
The tobacco of Virginia and Maryland will again alone reach Europe. 
Ships withdrawn from the Northern States to the Pacific, will regenerate 
the noble business of nautical construction in New England and New 

The established domestic manufactures of clothing and metals will find, 
in our great home extension, that protection which they in vain seek to 
create by unequal legislation, nocuous and impracticable in our present 
incomplete and unbalanced geographical form. 

Thus calmly weighed and liberally appreciated, does this great Central 
Railroad minister to the interests and invite the advocacy and co-opera- 
tion of every section of our territory, and every citizen of our common 

The exclusion of foreigners from Japan, China, and Cochin China is 
not then an institution of barbarism, but a domestic tax'iff of protection. 


It is designed, like the combination of Christian nations against 
piracy, to protect their nationality and freedom against those fierce military 
nations of Northmen, who for twenty centuries have rent Europe and 
Western Asia with perpetual massacre ; who ransack all the seas in their 
war-ships : store the rocks of the ocean with munitions of war : crush the 
millions of India with cannon and the bayonet : plunder Africa of a million 
annually of her swarthy children to rot in foreign slavery : and even 
exterminate one another in deadly strife when they meet among the an- 
tipodes, in the solitudes of the Southern Ocean. 

When, however, o%ir diplomacy shall receive a wise direction — when 
our foolish nepotism to Europe shall be run out — when men of sense, 
such as Franklin was of old, shall sail over from Astoria to Pekin, and 
there converse, with the Oriental Courts of Republican America as she is 
■ — when her civic growth and pacific policy shall be there understood — 
when the central position of our continent shall be known : forming the 
avenue for trade and barrier against war with the Northmen of Europe — 
then will mutual confidence between these, the oldest and youngest of 
the human family, the extremes met, show itself in the graces of a free 
commerce, and the ties of an harmonious fraternity. 

It is for you especially, people of Missouri, to seek these new relations 
with the Oriental people, with the zeal of faith and the fixed will of con- 

It is arch mockery for us to be duped by the flippant caricatures of 
these ancient and polished Asiatics : invented by British envy to mislead 
us, and fed out to us by the British press to cloak sinister designs of sub- 
jugation and world-wide plunder. 

Rather let us take alarm at the tone and source of this monstrous flood of 
calumny : and know that a direc' inspection for ourselves will reveal to us, 
in Asia, empires of people illustrious for their antique civilization : ren- 
dered enduring and perfect by political equality, and wise civic institutions, 
wini owed and renovated during fifty centuries of uninterrupted experi- 
ence — among whom the science and art of war, indeed, are decayed from 
long disuse : but all useful sciences highly perfected — with whom govern- 
ment has reached the mildest form of patriarchal despotism, eliminating 
political priestcraft and the disseminated tyranny of a patrician order — 
who have so admirably refined and perfected municipal government and 
police that 400,000,000 of population (double that of all Europe) are 
united under one harmonious political system in concord and tranquillity. 
It is among these swarming hives of ingenious people that we will find 
markets on a scale commensurate with our own prolific industry. 

This is ngt now the case in Europe. The Europeans are in all things 


our rivals and competitors. Are we agriculturists ? So are they, and 
wall off our competition with corn-law tariffs. Are we miners and manu- 
facturers ? So are they, and overtop us by abundance of labor and capi- 
tal. Are we ship-owners? So are they, having an immense marine 
cheaply navigated. They conquer and colonize foreign countries, of whose 
trade they make monopolies ! They are northern nations, whose clothing 
is of wool and flax, consuming a very limited amount of cotton. 

What they take from us is to manufacture for exportation. Tobacco 
is prohibited — hemp and metals they^export. The population of Europe 
is 205,000,000— of the Atlantic all round, 253,000,000. 

On the Pacific, in front of us, are 400,000,000 people of the tropics — 
Polynesians, South Americans, Southern Asiatics — among whom wheat 
is not cultivated, and animal food, other than fish and poultry, very 
scai'ce. Their clothing is exclusively cloth of cotton, grass, and silk. 
Opium is excessively used among them. Rice, the plantain, banana, and 
fruits are their unsubstantial diet. 

Here, then, will be the market for raw and manufactured cotton. Here 
our rank manufactured tobacco will substitute itself for opium. Here 
our substantial articles of food — flour, meats, and fish — will find purchasers 
in all who eat. Lead and hemp will be sold. 

In return will come to us groceries, spices, teas, coffee, sugar — porce- 
lain, Japan ware, furniture, works in ivory — drugs, paints, dyes, medi- 
cines — beautiful fabrics of silk, satin, velvet, crapes; nankeens, the 
delicate shawls of Cashmere, the carpets of Persia — jewelry, trinkets, and 
toys — the hemp of Manilla — luscious fruits dried and preserved. 

The people of the Pacific have no marine adapted to cross the great 
ocean — the carrying to and fro will be in our ships, and a monopoly to us 
— ship-building and navigation will occupy our people of the new sea- 
board, and the metals, lumber, and hemp of the interior find a prodigious 
demand. The population of the Pacific all round exceeds 645,000,000 ! 

Will not then our people find in this, that certain panacea of all their 
wants and wishes, namely, an infinite market of consumption ? Surely 
this people, which has submitted to the nostrums of political quackery : 
tariffs of protection : banks to make money plenty : home manufactures 
and systems of internal improvement: all invented to create markets at 
home, by changing our producing agriculturists into consuming opera- 
tives: but all of which little experiments have produced industrial 
anarchy and commercial bankruptcy. 

Surely this people will not hesitate to construct for themselves this great 
" National Highway," at small comparative cost: and leading as level as 
a cannon to its blank : to a new ocean, teeming with 645,000,000 of 


people, of wants unlimited, and having a genius active, intelligent, and com- 
mercial ! To effect this, it is only necessary to untrammel progress from 
the snares and dead-falls of maritime policy. 

To reopen the legitimate onward trail of the pioneer army, and rein- 
vigorate its march. The cause of the pioneers at this hour pre-eminently 
demands the undivided energies of Missouri. It is for us that the 
pioneer army is now conquering the vast wilderness that hems in our 
commerce and blocks the frontier : for us it throws down the perfidious 
Indian wall : reopens the central tr^il of advancement so long insidiously 
closed — and to us, for us, it re-establishes that crowning excellence of 
position of which hostile policy has for thirty years bereft us. 

It is not ambition that impels us, citizens of Missouri, to advance to 
the advocacy of this great work with our whole unshackled energies — it 
is high religious duty. 

Central to the continent, to its internal navigation, to its States, to its 
commerce, and to its variety of agriculture : neutral to all sectional antipa- 
thies, and the converging heart of all interests: WE must occupy this 
central position with power and dignity equal to its importance ; with a 
strength of grasp and intensity of enterprise to cope with the tallest exi- 

Let us appreciate this, and stand up to the work with hearts of contro- 
versy and sinews of endurance : that the fame of our glorious State, 
sallying forth from her seat in the centre, may resound in and outward 
all round from the centre to the circumfluent oceans ! 

Observe the foreign commerce of America, and the splendid marine 
which it sustains ! This has grown u]) in two hundred years. But com- 
pare with it the commerce and navigation of the interior, grown up in 
less than forty years, for such is the age of steam navigation on the rivers 
and lakes. 

The latter already equals the former, for it transports internally what 
is consumed at home, as well as what is collected at the seaports for expor- 
tation. Thus, St. Louis, in the amount of tonnage arriving and departing 
annually, is the fourth city of the Union, ranking next to Boston. 

Indefinitely grand is this domestic, internal commerce. Let us com- 
pare the two. The commerce between New York and Liverpool, 3500 
miles asunder, requires powerful vessels of great size and strength to carry 
much, and resist the storms of the ocean. The intervening space is a 
desert waste of salt water. A vessel of 600 tons must be filled with cargo 
before her departure, to make so long a voyage profitable. She goes to 
Liverpool and back — sails 3500 miles, touches only two points of land, 
and carries two loads — ^four months of time, at least, is consumed in 


this. Such are the voyages of ocean commerce — expensive, dilatory and 
full of dangers. 

Compare with this the river voyage. From Pittsburg (or New Or- 
leans) to Fort Union, the distance is 3500 miles, by the Ohio and Mis- 
souri Rivers — a steamer of 600 tons, cheaply constructed and navigated, 
performs the voyage to and fro, with perfect safety, in two and a half 
months, and absolutely without danger, along a continuous river channel. 

This channel has a double bank, so that this vessel coasts along a shore 
of 14,000 miles, at any square rod of which she may take in and discharge 
passengers and cargo. Thus it is possible that no single passenger or 
cargo remains on board over 100 miles, and yet the vessel is full through- 
out the voyage. These same advantages belong to railroads traversing 
populous countries. Such is our internal navigation — cheap, expeditious, 
and absolutely without danger. 

Now the circuitous seaboard surrounding the Atlantic may be estimated 
at 69,000 miles, with harbors indenting it — but small vessels cannot navi- 
gate the broad sea, nor large vessels enter all the harbors. 

On the other hand, within the united basins of the St. Lawrence and 
Mississippi, is a continuous river navigation for 45,000 miles, having a 
double bank or 90,000 miles of coast, the whole extent of which may be 
visited by the same steamer, which can land anywhere ! 

Such is one illustration of the supremely beneficent formation of this 
great interior basin, of which our own State occupies the centre and focus. 
Let a railroad from the Missouri elongate this to the Pacific : carrying 
population clear up all the rivers to their sources and down those beyond 
the Sierras : and behold the greatness of an internal commerce ! 

Everybody is acquainted with the commercial intercourse between the 
continents which fringe the Atlantic. The life, the vivacity, the grand 
energies which resound upon its buoyant waves. All this is the result of 
the discovery of America and its population with European stock — hence 
all this has its growth ! 

Antiquity had for its field the Mediterranean, and galleys sufficed. This 
was commerce in its infancy, confined to the nursery and content with 
toys. Since Columbus, America has become greater than the Europe of 
Columbus — and as this period has expanded the field of human activity 
from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and Mediterranean, from Western 
Europe to America and Europe, blending all this vast space under one 
international relationship. 

So now we advance to consummate the blending of the Pacific with 
these other seas : — Asia with these other continents — and urge to its goal 
that expanding progression, which marches on to complete the zodiac of 


the globe, and blend into bonds of confraternity all the continents, all the 
seas, and all the nations ! 

In the vast region of Northwestern Texas, traversed by the rivers 
Brazos, Trinity, Rio Roxo, Canadian, Arkansas, and Del Norte, exists a 
fertile region much larger than France, the dryness of whose climate, 
whose red soils, impregnated with the sulphate of lime (plaster), and 
whose altitude, present in perfect combination the qualities for the culti- 
vation of the grape and the production of wines. 

These rivers all have their sources in prodigious mountains of plaster, 
from which the red tinge and the fertility of their valleys below is derived. 
Natural vineyards, covering millions of acres, and annually pruned down 
by the nibbling herds of buflfalo and antelope, here now yearly waste an 
infinite vintage. 

This has already become known to the German pioneers of Texas, and 
soon will be seen rising a vine culture, rivalling in national importance the 
cotton culture, the tobacco crop, and even the production of provisions. 
Then too will be seen the universal consumption of mild and healthy wines 
by our people, and the gay and exhilarating spirits which generous wines 
inspire, will transpose the fell passions and fiery madness of alcohol. 

Again, the region of gold and precious metals and stones is not limited, 
but is absolutely infinite. It is over the whole extent of that primary and 
volcanic formation extending from the antarctic to the arctic extremities 
of America, including in its expanse the Andes of South and North 
America, the Sierra Madre and the Table Lands. 

This abundance of the material of coin, wrought and developed by 
sober American industry, is to the human race the supremest gift of 
Divine Beneficence. 

Has not the American cotton culture obliterated harsh aristocratic dis- 
tinctions in dress, and thus democratized the costume of society over the 
world ? What cotton has done for equality in dress, the same will gold 
effect for individual equality in property and physical comforts. 

Study how the stiff, icy servitude of European feudal times has melted, 
since the conquests of Cortez and Pizarro opened the sources from which 
portable personal property has exalted itself above fixed and immutable 
glebe land ! 

Beyond the Sierra IMadre, upon the Great Table Lands, is a parallel vein 
of thin mountains, whose masses consist of rock-salt. As streams else- 
where bring down gravel and soil, so here they liquefy the rocks down 
which they descend, and reaching the small inland seas and lakes, yield it 
again in the crystalline coverings which pave their bowls. 

In another parallel vein is a continuous line of plaster mountains. 


In auotlier, a continuous line of thermal and medicinal springs, some 
of which are the first appearance above ground of subterranean rivers, 
having flowed hundreds of miles under plains of lava. 

Secondary basins of great size abound, having freestone, marble, and 
coal formations — iron, lead, and the metals of the arts. All forms, indeed, 
into which geology classifies matter, here follow one another in appro- 
priate positions and proportions, with the regularity of the stripes of the 
rainbow : the whole deriving prominence and distinctness of detail from 
the immensity of the general scale. 

Thus, instead of inferiority in abundance and variety of things used by 
and useful to man, it is here that they especially abound in variety, good 
quality, and vastness. Across all these must pass any highway connecting 
the two oceans, distributing outward the infinite natural resources of this 
intra-montane world. 

No other portion of the world will better accommodate a dense popu- 
lation than these Table Lands, on which, farther south, is the chief popula- 
tion of Mexico. In the dryness and salubrity of its climate, its extraor- 
dinary pastoral excellence, and its mineral wealth, are the equivalents of 
the richer lands, but uncertain seasons and health of countries of less 
altitude. Its intermediate position will secure perpetual communication 
with the seaboards. 

An admirable economy of arrangement given by nature to the industri/ 
of our peojile, points with great power to this central route, which also cor- 
responds to the positions and courses of the great navigable rivers. 

In New England and at the extreme north, where winter dwarfs agri- 
culture, there are no planters, but ships are built, owned, and navigated. 
Here are the marine of America, her sailors. 

On the shores of the Gulf, and where southern warmth invites men to 
agriculture, no ships are built, owned, or navigated — the people here plant 
and produce cargoes for the ships of the north — not a native sailor is 
found in these countries. 

Between these, occupying a broad central belt, are the farmers, pro- 
ducers of food. These latter equal in number the other two combined. 
The farmer recoils from a southern sun, where heat forbids labor, and 
where the culture of wheat and swine languishes; in like manner, he 
recoils from the long winter of the north, where cattle and Indian corn 
cease to yield abundantly. ' 

It is this central farming 2wpulation which feed the commercial people 
of the North and the planting people of the South, and support them- 
selves and furnish for export. They precede all other occupants, and 
head the movement into the wilderness, where the first requisites are 


food and transportation. Yet it is among the farming population that 
domestic commerce finds its great volume of employments — and among 
them are required, first and chiefly, the great channels of trade which 
find their termini among the other two. 

It is this mass, which, stopped by the artificial net-work of maritime 
policy, is now rushing through and tearing its meshes from their fasten- 
ings. In resuming their ancient vigor, concentrated by long restraint, 
they now demand a National Railway to th^ ocean which they seek. 

What I have here stated, Mr. Chairman and fellow-citizens, of geo- 
grapliical facts, are of my own knowledge : for with the works of Lewis 
and Clarke, Fremont, Emory, and Humboldt, I have during six toilsome 
years of war and exploration, traversed the countries they describe, and 
the vast intervals between, which tliey have never visited. 

In these wanderings, undertaken of my own will, I have descended the 
Andes to the Pacific and returned : crossed and recrossed by many routes 
all the basins of the Table Lands, excepting only that of the city of 
Mexico, and coasted along the base of the Sierra Madre from 45° to 25°. 

This " mother range" I have crossed and reci'ossed at six different passes 
in this long interval, and its supreme grandeur is stamped indelibly in my 

What I have said ofpolict/ is from the mouths of those eminent states- 
men who have contrived it, and those equally eminent who have unsuc- 
cessfully opposed it. 

I have expressed my convictions very positively, but not immodestly : 
for in the terrible vastness of these solitudes. Nature speaks her iron will 
from summits of etei-nal ice, and where she frowns iipon our advances, 
our foolish efforts shrivel into ashes. It is, then, this stern and certain 
language of Nature that I have sought to penetrate, and here struggle to 

Many routes for a National Highway, cunningly contrived and speciously 
reasoned out, are before the people — all these will vanish beneath exact 
geographical scrutiny, for they violate nature at hap-hazard, with whom 
human skill must act in unison. This unison is happily attainable, and 
discussion will reveal it. 

Let us, then, understand Nature rightly — let us cease from conflict, and 
feather our onward march in unison with her beneficent aid and guidance. 
This gTeat work nuist come, and come noiv, to this generation. No diffi- 
culty lies in the enterprise itself — but such as will instantly vanish before 
the concentrated will and energies of the people. 



On motion of Mr. J. W. Modie, Colonel James Chiles was appointed 
Chairman, and on motion of R. G. Smart, Esq., J. R. Palmer was ap- 
pointed Secretary. 

Colonel William Gilpin was then called upon to address the meet- 
ing, and explain its object. He responded to the call in a speech which 
interested and occupied the attention of the meeting for about one hour 
and a half; in conclusion he moved the appointment of a committee of 
twelve to write and report to the meeting resolutions responsive to the 
action of the great Convention at St. Louis. The motion having been 
adopted, the Chairman appointed as the Committee : Colonel William Gil- 
pin, A. Brooking, General S. D. Lucas, Samuel Ralston, Major Robert 
Rickman, Colonel James M. Cogswell, James Patton, Esq., Colonel Oliver 
Caldwell, R. G. Smart, Esq., William R. Singleton, Alexander Collins, 
and S. H. Woodson, Esq. 

The Committee, after consultation, reported the following resolutions, 
which were unanimously adopted : — 

1. Resolved, That we heartily and zealously approve of, and concur in, 
the proceeding of the "National Railroad Convention," held at St Louis 
on the 15th ultimo. 

2. Resolved, That in the great national work, that shall connect the 
two seaboards of our country, and the interior with the seaboards, we 
behold an enterprise as universal to the inhabitants of our Union as their 
language, their politics, and their commerce — a bond of unanimous action, 
and not a bone of contention and strife. 

3. Resolved, That to the people of the " Valley of the Mississippi," 
intimate and direct connection with the seaboards and people of the Pacific, 
is as essential and as interesting as with those of the Atlantic. 

4. Resolved, That, inasmuch as our people in their natural progressive 
growth have extended their habitations across the continent, and along the 



Western seaboard, it is our duty, and tlie duty of our government, to give 
to this new seaboard, fleets, fortifications, and arms for defence — harbors, 
light-houses, and marine police, for the encouragement and protection of 
commerce and highways — and a military police to confirm and make safe 
the connection with the interior. 

5. Resohed, further, That a NATIONAL Railroad from the Mississippi 
to the Pacific is the most direct, economical, and constitutional means of 
effecting the above objects. 

6. Resolved, That, whereas the Almighty has placed the territories of 
the American Union in the centre, between Asia and Europe, and the 
route of the " Asiatic and European Railway" through the heart of our 
national domain, it is our duty to the human family to prosecute, vigor- 
ously, through its new channel, that supreme commerce between the Ori- 
ental nations and the nations of the Atlantic, which history proves to 
have existed in all ages, and to be necessary to keep alive comity, science, 
and civilization among mankind. 

7. Resolved, That, whereas the people of China, Japan, Polynesia, and 
Southern America now receiA^e from British India agricidtural produce 
(raw and manufactured cotton, indigo, opium, rice, wool, etc.) to the 
amount of $150,000,000, annually ; we believe these same people will 
take from the Americans, hi 'preference, more than twice this amount of 
agricultural produce (substituting tobacco for opium, and flour and meats 
for rice), so soon as the barrier of the Rocky Mountains be removed by a 
National Railway. 

8. Resolved, That, apart from the great benefits which shall accrue to 
us and the other nations of the Atlantic from this National Railway, we 
regard it as a beneficent doviestic work, to open to our people access to the 
immense and glorious domain of the Plains, the Sierra Madre, the great 
Table Lands, and the Andes, known to abound in metals, mountains and 
lakes of salt, mountains of plaster and marble, thermal and medicinal 
spring's, wild cattle, salubrious climates, sulphur, coal, lumber, arable and 
pastoral lands of the finest quality, and staple productions unlimited in 
variety and abundance. 

9. Resolved, That, whereas, during the last thirty years, the generation 
of our fathers has covered the eastern half of our continent with States, 
and, commencing with the New York Canal in 1818, has everywhere ren- 
dered the connection between the " Valley of the Mississippi" and the 
Atlantic seaboard complete, and carried the commerce of the Atlantic to 
the grandest development — it is the high and glorious mission and duty 
of us their sons and heirs, of the growing generation, in like manner, to 
cover the western half of the continent with States, to render complete 


witli great works the connection of the " Valley of the Mississippi" with 
the Pacific seaboard, and expand upon the Pacific Ocean a similarly mag- 
nificent commerce. 

10. Renolvcd^ That we earnestly entreat our fellow-citizens, in all sec- 
tions of our Union, to unite with us in this central domestic work in pref- 
erence to dissipating the national energies upon circuitous routes, running 
near the equator, through foreign countries beyond our control, and certain 
to involve us in the competitions, the jealousies, and the hostile interests 
of foreigners and rivals. 

11. Reaohed^ That we invite our fellow-citizens throughout the State 
to assemble in their counties and cities, and join in a general and unani- 
mous response to the St. Louis Convention, and unite with us in respect- 
fully instructing our Representatives and Senators in Congress to vote for 
such measures as may be introduced at the coming session of our National 
Legislature to carry out the views embodied in the foregoing resolutions. 

12. Resolved^ That the Secretary of this Mass Meeting forward to each 
of our Representatives and Senators in Congress a copy of these resolutions. 

Mr. George W. Ilhoades offered the following resolutions : — 

1. Resolved, That Colonel Gilpin be requested to write out for publica- 
tion the speech made by him to this meeting on to-day. 

2. Resolved, That the " Missouri Commonwealth," and all other papers 
in this State friendly to a project of constructing a National Railroad to 
the Pacific from the " Valley of the Mississippi," be requested to publish 
the proceedings of this meeting. 



I SUBMIT to your inspection three maps. The first is a " Hydro- 
graphic Map of North America," exhibiting in daguerreotype the physical 
divisions of our continent ; the second is a map of the world, exhibiting 
America in the centre, between Asia and Europe, and having delineated 
upon it the Isothermal Zodiac of Nations, filling the north temperate zone 
of the globe ; the third is a map of the " Basin of the Mississippi." 

Physical geography arranges the surface of the continents into basins 
and the mountain crests which divide them. Thus the basin of the Mis- 
sissippi is that surface which, being drained by all the confluent branches 
of this river, discharges its fresh waters into the Gulf of Mexico. 

This surface is an undulating, calcareous plain of 1,200,000 square 
miles of area : it is embraced entirely within the temperate zone ; occu- 
pies the heart and splendors of our continent : and is the most magnifi- 
cent dwelling-place marked out by Grod for man's abode. 

Three more similar calcareous basins, each drained by a single system of 
rivers : the basin of the St. Lawrence : the basin of the Saskatchewan of 
Hudson Bay ; and the arctic basin of the Athabasca, resting upon one 
another and upon the basin of the Mississippi, form together one continu- 
ous expanse, geologically uniform and identical. 

This immense expanse defines itself as the Calcareous Plain of North 
America. Limestone, horizontally stratified, underlies this whole expanse, 
being formed, like cheese from milk, from the sediment and pressure of 
the ocean which once rolled over it, but has now retired. 

This calcareous plain, thus forming a unit in physical geography, em- 
braces four-sevenths of the area of our continent. It is encompassed all 
round by a circuit of primary mountains, within which it forms an amphi- 


These mountains are the Alleghanies, towards the Atlantic ; tlie Cor- 
dilleras of the Sierra Madre and the Andes, towards the Pacific. The 
mouths of the great rivers form the doors or outlets through them to the 
oceans. This circumferent wall of mountains is of immense breadth 
towards the Pacific. It is the second unit in physical geography, and 
covers two-sevenths of the area of our continent. 

External to the Mountain Formation is the Maritime Slope^ washed 
by the oceans, and penetrated by the tides. This external division is 
the third unit in physical geography, and forms all round one-seventh of 
the area of our continent. 

Behold, then, the physical arrangement of our continent ; at once 
simple, complete, and sublime : — the Calcareous Plain, four-sevenths ; the 
Mountain Formation, two-sevenths ; the Maritime Slope, one-seventh. 

The geological structure of our continent has the same order, a like 
magnitude of dimensions and arrangements, a parallel simplicity. The 
Calcareous Plain is a uniform secondary formation of limestone, horizon- 
tally deposited and stratified. The Mountain Formation is of granite, 
pi'esenting the primeval crust of the globe rent by volcanic forces and 
elevated vertically. The Maritime Slope presents the external mountain 
base partly revealed, and partly covered by the washings of the sea. 

Everybody Is familiar witli the manufacture of shot. This is accom- 
plished by pouring liquid lead, at a high elevation, through perforated 
moulds. Each pellet of lead, descending through the air, is formed, as it 
cools, into a sphere, by the invisible force of gravity. The globe of the 
earth has had a similar origin — once a liquid mass, now a solid, gravi- 
tating sphere, such as we inhabit it. 

Geology explains how the material mass of this great sphere has ar- 
ranged itself, in cooling, into layers enveloping one another, like the 
successive coatings of an onion. 

Specific gravity accounts for the relative position of these layers, one 
upon the other, and explains to us when and how to penetrate to their 
metalliferous content!^. It is in the primeval rocks exclusively that tho» 
precious metals and precious stones are found. The base metals are con- 
tained in the calcareous or secondary rocks. The same stupendous scale 
holds in the abundance of the metals, their purity, and their widely ex- 
tended distribution. 

It is your request that I speak, specially, on this evening, of the gold 
production of our country, and specifically of the reg'on surrounding 
Pike's Peak and th? Sier a h'an Juan. 

Specific gravity guides us to discover the rocks in which the precious 
metals may be found, and where they are totally absent. If into a hollow 


pillar of glass there be poured a quart of quicksilver, one of water, one of 
oil, and one of alcohol, these liquids will rest one upon the other, in this 
order : if a piece of gold, of iron, of wood, and a feather, be thrown in, 
they will sink : the gold to the bottom, the iron to the quicksilver, the 
wood to the water, the feather to the oil. 

If this mass be congealed to ice, this arrangement will remain solid and 
permanent : the gold must be sought for sedimentary to the quicksilver ; 
the iron above it, but sedimentary to the water ; the wood sedimentary to 
the oil. In the great order of nature, a similar arrangement holds in the 
rocks which compose the globe of the earth, and in their contents, once 
all liquid, but now permanently solid in the order of their relative specific 
gravities. It is the primeval mass, then, of the Mountain Formation, 
which alone is auriferous, and within it only can the precious metals, and 
especially gold, be sought for with success. 

The Mountain Formation, which occupies the western portion of our 
continent to the extent of two-sevenths of its whole area, consists of the 
Cordillera of the Sierra Madre on the east, the Cordillera of the Andes 
on the west, and the Plateau of the Table Lands embraced between them. 
It is uniformly primeval and everywhere auriferous. 

The Plateau of the Table Lands commences above Tehuantepec, where 
the Cordilleras begin to open from one another. It runs through the 
continent to Behring's Strait, and is 1000 miles in width, in our latitude 

The general elevation of its surface is 6000 feet above the sea ; that of 
the Cordilleras is 12,000 feet. The Plateau is traversed across by great 
mountain chains, which subdivide it into basins. Three of these basins 
contain, respectively, the great rivers the Columbia, the Colorado, and 
the Rio del Norte, which gorge the Cordilleras and escape to the seas. 

Three other basins contain the stagnant lakes, the Grreat Salt Lake, the 
Laguna, and the Lake of the City of Mexico ; these have no outlets or 
drainage to the seas. ' Of these mountain chains the most interesting to 
us is the Sierra Mimbres. This divides asunder the basins of the Colo- 
rado and the Del Norte, which rest against it as a backbone. 

It leaves the western flanh of the Cordillera of the Sierra Madre in 
latitude 39°, and, traversing the Plateau by a due southern course for 
1400 miles, joins the Cordillera of the Andes in the Mexican State of 
Durango, in latitude 23°. This mountain chain is volcanic, containing 
craters and the overflow of lava. The Cordillera of the Andes is also 

These mountain chains consist of the'primeval rocks, broken from their 
original positions, heaved up edgewise by the expansive power of the in- 


ternal fires of the globe, and revealed to sight and search. Moreover, the 
Colcrrado River, in escaping to the sea, gorges the Cordillera of the Andes 
diagonally, having rent its way by a chasm bored through the very bowels 
of the Cordillera, athwart from base to base. This chasm, 400 miles in 
length, is known as the Caiion of the Colorado. 

This caiion presents the unique and novel fact to mankind, that a pri- 
mary mou.ntain chain whose summit is of the auriferous rocks, is thus 
gorged to its foundations, many thousand feet in depth ! It is here, upon 
the Plateau, in the arcana of the mountain formation, and the activity of 
the stupendous forges of nature, that the precious metals may be sought 
in mass and in position. 

Moreover, the Sierra Mimbres, where its southern half bisects the 
Mexican States of Durango and Chihuahua, contains twenty-one mines 
of silver, which, wrought for three centuries by the Spaniards, have fur- 
nished the world with its silver coin and bullion. Moreover, where the 
Sierra Mimbres, in its course to the north, approaches to its junction with 
the Sierra Madre, it increases to a prodigious bulk. 

It rises to the altitude of perpetual snow, and assumes for 200 miles 
the local name of Sierra San Jiian. Here it is that the dislocation of 
nature by volcanic forces, and the consequent metalliferous development, 
attain their highest culmination. 

What is about to follow the arrival of our pioneer people within this 
region, may be exactly illustrated by what is already done within the 
region of the great Calcareous Plain. 

We have seen that the calcareous plain, being formed beneath a great 
ocean, condensed from its filtration and by its pressure, contains only the 
base metals, copper, iron, lead, zinc. A metalliferous band of these metals 
is traced diagonally aci'oss it, traversing from Southwestern Texas, through 
that State, through Arkansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, brushing the shores 
of Lake Superior and of Hudson Bay, to the ocean shore opposite Green- 

Points of culmination of these various metals are found where they 
reveal themselves above the general surface in mass and inposition. Thus, 
iron appears in Missouri in native purity, protruding' in mountain masses 
over many hundred square miles of surface ; the same is the form of 
copper adjacent to Lake Superior ; so also with lead in Missouri and in 

Now, the same arrangement characterizes the immense primeval forma- 
tion which occupies our continent from Cape Horn to Behriug's Strait, and 
which is throughout impregnated with the precious metals ! As gold is every- 
where else found within it in the form of grains or scales, or minute 



lumps : so is it possible for it to culminate in mass and in position, where 
the auriferous rocks are upheaved to form the vertical masses of the 
Sierra San Juan and the Andes, and are then gorged into their bowels by 
the caiion of the Colorado. 

The search for gold has heretofore confined itself to the external flanks 
of the primeval mountains, where they front the sea, and where the rivers 
descend from their backs. Why it has here been found only in grains, 
scales, and small lumps may be thus illustrated : I suppose myself at my 
camp-fire in the wilderness, engaged in boiling rice : into a camp-kettle of 
boiling water I throw a cup of rice. This rice, after a time, settles by its 
specific gravity into a sedimentary mass beneath the water — the water 
above retains a milky whiteness. This whiteness is due to the presence 
of minute particles of rice remaining suspended through the body of 
the fluid. Being frozen into ice, this condition remains fixed in solid 

The presence of the gold in the auriferous rocks has had a similar ori- 
gin, and presents identical conditions. It is the attrition of the elements 
upon the surface rocks and veins only that have as yet attracted at- 
tention. It is beneath that we must search for the sedimentary mass ; the 
possibility to do which now first presents itself as we advance within the 
labyrinth of the volcanic masses and canons of the Plateau. 

My own personal experience, earned during three military expeditions 
made between the years 1844-49, rendered desperate from the then un- 
known complication of the country added to the numerical strength and 
savage character of the Indians, is not without value. 

The facts then and since collected by me are so numerous and so posi- 
tive, that I entertain an absolute conviction, derived from them, that 
gold in mass and in position and infinite in quantity will, within the coming 
three years, reveal itself to the energy of our pioneers. All the precious 
metals and precious stones will also reveal themselves in equal abundance 
in this region so propitious to their production. 

Such a development has nothing in it speculative or theoretical. It 
comes of necessity in the order of time, and as an inevitable sequence to 
the planting of empire in Texas, in California, in Oregon, in Kansas, and 
in Utah. 

As these other developments have preceded it in the order of time, and 
encompass it all round, this now comes to unite, to complete, to consum- 
mate the rest, and to give form and power and splendor to the whole. 

The inquiry which acquaints us with the climate, the agriculture, and 
the domestic geography of this immense region, is still equally interesting 
and important as its metals. It was upon the summit of this plateau, 


where it traverses Mexico and Peru, tliat the semi-civilized empires of 
Montezuma and the Incas were found, when a sterile barbarism pervaded 
every other portion of the continent of America. 

The distance hence to Pike's Peak is less than 700 miles. It is reached 
by the great road of the Arkansas River, traversing straight to the west, 
and ascending the imperceptible grade of the Great Plains clear to the 
mountain base. Gold is here discovered as soon as the primeval rocks 
rise from beneath the calcareous plain. 

Pike's Peak, which rises to the altitude of 14,300 feet above the sea, 
is the abrupt colossal termination of the mountain promontory, which, 
protruding eastward from the Cordillera 100 miles, sunders from one 
another the sources of the South Platte and the Arkansas Rivers. 

Where this promontory connects with the Cordillera is a supremely 
grand focal point of primary mountain chains, primary rivers, and pares. 
This focal point is in the same latitude as San Francisco and St. Louis 
(39°), is about 1000 miles from each, and in the centre between them. 

The direction of the Cordillera is from northivest to southeast. From its 
western flank protrudes a promontory, balancing and similar to Pike's 
Peak, known as Elk Mountain : it sunders from one another the Grand 
River of the Colorado and the Eagle, terminating abruptly within the angle 
of their junction. Radiating due south is the Sierra 3Iimhres, known 
for 200 miles by the snowy peaks of San Juan: this chain sunders the 
waters of Eagle River from the Rio del Norte. 

The southern arm of the Cordillei'a sunders the waters of the Rio del 
Norte from the Arkansas River : the northern arm, the waters of the 
Platte River from the Rio Grande of the Colorado. Such is this focal 
summit, from which five primary mountains and five rivers simultaneously 

Upon the Platte is the pare known as the Bayou Salado ; upon the Rio 
Grande of the Colorado, the pare known as the Middle Pare ; upon the 
Rio del Norte, the pare called the Bayou of San Luis. The Arkansas 
and Eagle Rivers have no pares : they defile outward through stupendous 

The pares, scooped out of the main dorsal mass of the Cordillera by the 
rivers which bisect them, are, each one of them, an immense amphitheatre 
of singular beauty, fertility, and temperate atmosphere ; they approach 
one another where they rest against the Cordillera at the extreme sources 
of the rivers. 

Behold, then, the panorama which salutes the vision of one who has 
surmounted this supreme focal summit of the Cordillera ! Infinite in 
variety of features ; each feature intense in the magnitude and the gran- 


deur of its mould ; in front, in rear, and on either Land, Nature ascending 
in all her elements to the standard of superlative sublimity ! 

Beneath, the family of Pares : around, the radiating backs of the pri- 
meyal mountains : the primary rivers starting to the seas : above, the 
ethereal canopy intensely blue, effulgent with the unclouded sun by day, 
and stars by night : to the east, the undulating plains, expanding one hun- 
dred leagues, to dip, like the ocean, beneath the encircling horizon : to the 
west, the sublime Plateau, checkered by volcanic peaks and mesas, chan- 
nelled as a labyrinth by the profound gorges of the streams ! 

It is manifest with what ease the pioneers, already engaged in mining 
at the entrance of the Bayou Salado, will in another season ascend through 
it to the Cordillera, surmount its crests, and descend into the Bayou San 
Luis. They will develop at every step gold in new and increasing 

Besides, access is equally facile by the Huerfano, an affluent of the 
Arkansas coming down from the Spanish Peak, 100 miles farther to the 
south. From New Mexico, the approach is by ascending the Bio Bravo 
del Norte. The snowy battlements of the Sierra San Juan form the west- 
ern wall of the Bayou San Luis. From its middle flank the Sierra San 
Juan projects to the southwest a chain of remarkable volcanic mountains, 
known as the Sierra La Plata (silver mountain). This chain divides 
asunder the waters of the Great Colorado from the Bio San Juan, and, 
filling the angle of their junction, forms the perpendicular wall of the 
Great Canon. 

It is to this remarkable mountain chain, and its surrounding region, 
that I have desired to conduct you, and here stop, in the midst of the 
veritable arcana of the Mountain Formation and its metalliferous elements. 

The Sierra La Plata is 400 miles in length, having its course west-south- 
west. Along its dorsal crest are volcanic masses penetrating to perpetual 
snow ; its flanks descend by immense terraces of carboniferous and sul- 
phvirous limestone. All formations of the globe here come together, 
mingle with one another, acquire harmony, and arrange themselves side 
by side in gigantic proportions. 

Lava, porphyritic granite, sandstone, limestone, the precious and base 
metals, precious stones, salt, marble, coal, thermal and medicinal streams, 
fantastic mountains called cristones, or abrupt peaks, level mesas of great 
fertility, canons, delicious valleys, rivers, and great forests ; all these, and 
a thousand other varieties, find room, appear in succession, in perfect order 
and in perfectly graceful proportions. 

Bemoteness from the sea, and altitude, secure to this region a tonic 
atmosphere, warm, cloudless, brilliant, and serene. The aboriginal people 


are numerous, robust, and iutelligent. They are the Navujos and Yuta 
Indians. They have skill in agriculture and weaving, rear great herds 
of horses, cattle, and sheep, but construct neither permanent nor tem- 
porary houses, so dry and favorable is the atmosphere. 

Here, also, occurs a remarkable, isolated mountain, known to rumor for 
half a century, but only now locally identified. This is Cerro di Sal (Salt 
Mountain). This rises among the western spurs of th3 Sierra La Plata, 
to an altitude of 9000 feet, appearing as an irregular cone of great bulk. 
A pure stratified mass of rock-salt, its flanks are channelled by the little 
river Dolores, whose waters, saturated with liquid salt, yield it again in 
its lower course, in granulated beds of snowy whiteness, tinted with Ver- 
million streaks from the beds of seleuite with which the salt formation 

Such, my fellow-citizens, are the facts and reflections which I have 
selected for your attention in speaking upon the gold region of Pike's 
Peak and the Sierra San Juan. The superlative character of this region 
engaged the enthusiastic pen and jjatriotic instincts of President Jefi'erson, 
more than half a century ago. 

Overshadowed during this long interval by political and military excite- 
ments, which have deflected elsewhere the progressive columns of our 
pioneer people, it now recurs to restore the pre-eminent centinental char- 
acter which inspired the generation who founded our republican Union. 

Who, and what, are these people that I now address ? We are not the 
people of the North ; we are not the people of the South ; nor of the East ; 
nor of the West. We are emphatically, and par excellence, the people of 
the Centre ! Inspirations, oracular by their source and their antiquity, 
admonish us to resume our distributive position, and develop the energies 
which assume and keep the lead. 

Look upon this map of the world, upon which science delineates the 
zodiac of empires and the isothermal axis of progress ! We have our 
homes around the centre of this our northern continent, the centre of our 
continental Union, the centre of the Mississippi basin. Behold, upon the 
right hand, the European continent, with its 260,000,000 of people ; it 
slopes towards our eastern seaboard and faces towards the west ! 

Behold, upon the left hand, the continent of Oriental Asia and its 
islands, with its population of 650,000,000 ; it slopes towards our western 
seaboard and faces to the east! 

These external continents, dividing between them the population of 
the world, both face America and face one another across America. We 
occupy the middle space between them, and at once separate them asunder 
and connect them together. From Paris to Pekin, travelling by our 


tliresliold, is but a journey of 10,000 miles. It bisects tbe temperate 
zone — it is the line of land and way travel of mankind. 

But a fact of profound significance to us, revealed by physical geog- 
raphy, remains to be considered. It is along the axis of the isothermal 
zone of the Northern Hemisphere, that the principles of revealed civiliza- 
tion make the circuit of the globe. This isothermal zone deflects from the 
geographical zone (which is a flat section of the globe), undulating to the 
north and to the south, to preserve a constant identity of temperature. 

Under the influence of the warm maritime climates, it rises high above 
the 40th degree of latitude ; under the influence of the continental climates, 
it is depressed to the south of the •iOth degree. With what the history 
of sis thousand years practically demonstrates, the proofs of physical 
geography agree. 

Along this axis have arisen successively the great cities of China and 
of India, of Babylon, Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, Paris, London, in the 
older continents — upon our continent, the seaboard cities, New York, 
Philadelphia, and Baltimore ; Pittsburg, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. The 
channel of the Missouri is its onward track to us : whence it passes by 
the Kansas basins, the Sweetwater, Snake Biver, and the Columbia, to 
Vancouver's Island, upon the North Pacific shore. 

We, then, the people of the centre, are upon the lines of intense and 
intelligent energy, where civilization has its largest field, its highest devel- 
opments, its inspired form. Along this line have come, from the plateau 
of Syria, our religion, our sciences, our civilization, our social manners, 
our arts and agriculture, the horse, our articles of food and raiment ; and 
here is the eternal fire from which is rekindled, when it has expired, the 
spirit of the " unconquerable mind, and freedom's holy flame." 

We have seen depart a perverse generation, distinguished by civic 
discord. An unscrupulous seaboard power has aspired to found a repub- 
lic of the North ; a republic of the South ; a republic of the Pacific 
shores. A nefarious federal policy, operating for forty years, has occluded 
with savages and deserts the delicious central region of the prairies, the 
great plains, the plateau, and the mountains. 

The physical geography of our country has been ofiicially caricatured, 
concealed, and maligned. The solid continental republic, founded in 1776 
and completed in 1787, has been nullified by interpolated monarchies. 

The Land system has crushed and plundered the continental people 
with the brutalizing pressure of mediaeval feudalism. 

The Indian system has walled up, as in a Bastile, the whole central 
meridian of our continent. 

Forced out artificially upon the flanks, we have seen our pioneer energies 


driven in fragments into Florida, into Texas, into California, into Oregon, 
into Minnesota. We behold on the one hand a tier of artificial seaboard 
States, isolated upon the maritime slope ; on the other hand, the continental 
centre, an immense disc of howling wilderness. 

Foreign wars have been waged, federal revenues and patronage ex- 
hausted, federal law and power stretched out to every device of tyranny, 
the federal constitution violated in every sacred principle, to erect this 
monarchical seaboard power, and establish it in perpetual dominance over 
the continent. 

For the centre^ civil wars, civil discords, false geography, calumnies, 
every form of meretricious and deceptive political agitation, have been 
suicidally fomented. 

The foundations of the Union, lost in the centre and scattered around 
an invisible circumference : the Union itself, incessantly assailed and per • 
petually menaced : has seemed to approach the twilight of its existence, 
and, lost to the guardian care of the people, has been in suspense between 
the infuriated passions of extreme sectional fanatics. 

Our great country demands a period of stern virtue, of holy zeal, of 
regenerating patriotism, of devoted citizens. 

It is to the people of the great central State of Missouri that I speak. 
To exalt their intrepid enthusiasm is my aim. Open the track across the 
Plateau to the other sea, and we are absolutely the leaders of the world, 
heading the column to the Oriental shores. 

With us are the continental eagles and the continental cause, immortal- 
ized by the purity of Washington, illuminated by the wisdom of JeflPerson, 
vindicated and restored by the illustrious Jackson. 

Let us condense around these eagles and advance. It is the predestined 
mission of mankind, confided to America to fulfil, to our generation to 

Night wanes, the vapors round the mountains curled 
Burst into morn, and light awakes the world ! 





Inasmuch as tLe general mind seems willing to entertain with fovor 
and judge candidly what maybe truthfully said of a National Rail- 
road TO THE Pacific, and everywhere is indicated a growing taste for 
whatever may solidly enhance the prosperity of our continental system, I 
have condensed into these few chapters the general views resulting from 
a long..experience. 

This subject touches profoundly all the existing relations of the human 
family, connecting three continents, and unites together, by a short line 
of ten thousand miles, the thousand millions of people inhabiting Europe, 
America, and Asia. This short line traverses the middle of the north 
temperate zone, perforating nine-tenths of the land, the population, the 
production, and the consumption of the world. 

I say, it is necessary for one who will write with dignity upon such a 
subject, so searching and omnipotent, to grasp boldly its immense scope 
of matter ; to rely upon solid statistics ; to face and brave old opinions ; 
to repudiate the rubbish into which thousands of years of staggering and 
abortive efforts have submerged it ; and to condense it to the tangible 
form of propositions, which may be practically/ handled for a final solu- 

The shortest trail whereby the local works, now on hand and proposed, 
may be understood, the public judgment matured, and opinion instructed 
and concentrated for action, is to condense by rigid analysis, and draw 
into one view, the multitudinous facts of geography, commerce, politics, 
and progress under which the American people are so rapidly erecting a 
supreme democratic republican empire, and fitting it to the surface of the 
northern American continent and islands. 

And first, must be emancipated from the dogmatic European writers 
(who, with Procrustean despotism, rive up all other portions of the globe 
to fit their own pigmy theories) the symmetrical and sublime geograph- 
ical plan of our continent. 


This, heretofore veiled from the public mind by every form of contor- 
tion, is reducible to an exact system, easily understood and eternal. The 
reverse geographical form in which our continent is moulded : the contrast 
of all the others : makes a new and original grandeur of society, not only 
possible, but compulsory upon us. 

To disinfect ourselves of inane nepotism to Europe in other things as we 
have done in politics : to jjonder boldly on ourselves and our mission, and 
develop an indigenous dignity — to appreciate Asiatic science, civilization, 
commerce, and population — these are essential preparatory steps to which 
we must tone our minds. 

This, then, is the simple plan of North America : — The Andes, having 
traversed the whole length of South America, passing out from the Isthmus 
of Tehuantepec, continue to follow, unchanged in character, the Pacific 
shore of North America clear up to Behring's Strait. Known successively 
as the Cordilleras of Anahuac in Mexico, Siei'ra Nevada in California, 
and Cascade Mountains in Oregon, it is all along the same auriferous and 
volcanic Andes. It has a narrow base washed on the west by the tide ; 
immense altitude ; summits of j^erpetual snow ; and is formed of the 
columnar vulcan rock, or a molten mass of lava. 

Between this continuous escarpment of rock and the sea, is the mari- 
time region of the Pacific, which contains all the present American popu- 
lation residing in California and Oregon, upon the smaller rivers run- 
ning directly into the sea, and parallel to one another. 

It resembles, and is the counterpart of, the maritime Atlantic declivity ; 
which contains the old thirteen States, and which is shut ofi" from the 
valleys of the Mississippi and St. Lawrence by the Alleghanies. 

But, at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the Andes bifurcates, throwing 
along the coast of the Mexican Gulf the great Cordillera of the Sierra 
Madre, which opens rapidly from the Andes, as the continent widens. 
This assumes in our territory the name of Roclzy Mountains., and traverses 
north to the shores of the Arctic Sea. It is some 1400 miles apart from, 
and to the east of, the Andes, and forms the primary divide, the " divor- 
tia aqtiarum" of America. 

The absolute separate existence of these tico prodigious Cordilleras, 
must remain distinctly in the mind, if anybody intends to understand 
American geographi/. 

The interval between them, from end to end, is occupied by the Pla- 
teau OP THE Table Lands, on which are alike the cities of Mexico, 
Chihuahua, and the Mormon city of the Salt Lake. This Plateau OP THE 
Table Lands is two-sevenths of tlie surface of North America : is some 
6000 feet elevated above the external oceans : and gives as complete a 


separation between the Cordilleras on tlie flanks, as does the Atlantic, 
whose waters roll between the Alleghanies and the Alps. 

Thus that side of the American continent which may be defined to 
front Asia, and sheds its waters in that direction, has these four charac- 
teristic divisions : — ^the maritime front ; the Andes ; the Plateau of 
THE Table Lands ; and the Sierra Madre, all extending the whole 
length from south to north, parallel to one another, and covering in the 
aggregate two-fifths of its whole area. 

These two continuous primary mountain chains define themselves as the 
Western and the Eastern Cordilleras. 

The remaining three-fifths of the continent sheds its waters towards the 
Atlantic. Here too the same sublime grandeur and simplicity of plan 
are discernible. From the Sierra Madre, the whole continent descends to 
the seas by immense planes, resembling the glacis of a fortress, or a flat- 
tened octagonal house-roof. 

This plane, once the bed of immense oceans, of which the Sierra Madre 
was the shore, and bevelled by the action of the watery mass, now forms 
the gentle slope down which descend, to replenish the oceans, the surplus 
waters of the Sierra Madre and the plane itself Guttered evei-y where 
by these descending water-courses, seaming its surface as innumerably as 
the veins which carry back the blood to the human heart, these aqueous 
channels flow down the difierent faces of the great plane, proportioned in 
length and size to the distances to be traversed. 

Thus, down the smaller face, which fronts the Mexican Grulf, — at 
present comprehended in Texas, — run the lower Del Norte, the Nueces, 
Colorado, Trinity, and Brazos. 

Down the grand eastern front, called by us the " Great Prairie Plains," 
descend the Red Eiver of Louisiana, the Canadian, Arkansas, and Kansas, 
the Platte (with its three forks), and the sublime Missouri itself. All of 
these, running due east, parallel to one another, very straight and without 
rapids, are received into the great central trough, the Mississippi, which 
runs from north to south across their direction, and their accumulated 
waters are discharged into the Gulf. 

From the same focal point with the Missouri, radiate two fronts. The 
one is drained by the system of rivers tributary to the Saskatchewan, 
opening to the northeast, and widening to embrace the immense inland 
sea of Hudson Bay. The other is upon the Athabasca or McKenzie 
River, sloping due north, and occupying the vast hyperhorean region 
stretching to the Arctic Sea. 

From an elevated swell in the plane between the Missouri and Sas- 
katchewan, protruding from the Sierra Madre eastwardly along the 49th 


degree, about 700 miles, issue the waters of the Upper Mississippi and 
St. Lawrence. The first goes directly south to scour out the trough of the 
continent. The latter flows down the narrow basin of the lakes and their 
river St. Lawrence, to where the glacis reaches the sea and forms the 
shores of the gulf of that name. 

Thus, from the dividing wall of the Sierra Madre, the continent de- 
scends uninterruptedly to the Gulf: the North Atlantic : and the Arctic 
Seas. The perfect gentleness of this descent, scarcely distinguishable 
from a level, is perceptible from the rivers, which are entirely free from 
rapids and everywhere navigable when water is sufficient in their beds. 

The sublimest example is the watery surface of the Missouri, whose 
liquid plane, dipping by perhaps thirteen inches to the mile, has an un- 
ruffled uniformity of descent through its whole course of 5000 miles to 
the sea. 

But to render complete this geographical delineation, there rises all 
along the Atlantic, and parallel with its shore, the dividing range of 
the Alleghany, uninterrupted from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of St. 

External to this is the narrow seaboard declivity which first received 
the European settlements, and still holds the densest population : but 
ivithin, a reverse glacis descends to the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, 
filled with States to the central trough of the continent. 

Practically, the basins of these great rivers are narrowed to mere passes 
at their mouths by the points of the mountain chains which fence them 
from the sea, expanding to an immense breadth in the interior, and fading 
into one another, where they touch, by prairie divides of imperceptible 
elevation. They form together one vast boid, whose waters flow from the 
circumference near the seas, inwards, to centres which are near and 
already connected by art as at Chicago. This bowl or plain is everywhere 
calcareous, being paved beneath the soil with an undulating covering of 
limestone, as is a frozen lake with one of ice. 

To recapitulate and grave it upon the mind : as with the style where- 
with the artist cuts into steel the deeply shaded lines of a picture : the 
whole Atlantic side of the continent is one calcareous plain of many fronts. 
Each front has a mighty system of arteries, demonstrating its gradual 
slope, and carrying its surplus waters to the sea. Yet by the rising of 
the eastern halves of the basins against the Atlantic barriers it is also a 
sublime bowl, into which the waters have first a concentric direction, as 
they accumulate into the troughs that conduct them to the sea. 

The superlative wonder about this is, that here, in North America, is 
rolled out in one uniform expanse of 2,300,000 square miles, an area of 


arable land equivalent in surface to the aggregate of the valleys of the 
other continents, which are small, single, and isolated. 

Moreover^ the interlacing of the rivers forms everywhere a complete sys- 
tem of navigation : blended into one by public works of the easiest con- 
struction : and forming, by their double banks, a shore-line equal in extent 
to the coasts of all the oceans. 

To master the geographical portiKiit of our continent thus in its unity 
of system, is necessary to every American citizen — as necessary, as it is to 
understand the radical principles of the Federal Government over it, and 
of political society. 

Our country is immensely grand, and to understand it in its simple 
grandeur, it is not an extravagance, but is a homespun matter-of-fact duty. 
If we flinch from this duty, we recede from the divine mission chalked 
out for us by the Creator's hand, sink below the dignity of our ancestors, 
and fall into the decrepitude of the voluntary, illiterate, and emasculate 
subjects of Europe. 

To enforce these truths with yet greater stringency, and to tempt or 
lash the popular mind out of its cringing and criminal torpidity, still 
another illustration remains of the paramount significance to us of geo- 
graphical/acts. This is the contrast between our own and the other four 

Europe, the smallest of the grand divisions of the land, contains in its 
centre the icy masses of the Alps ; from round their declivities radiate 
the large rivers of that continent ; the Danube directly east to the 
Euxine ; the Po and Khone south to the Mediterranean ; the Rhine to 
the Northern Ocean. 

Walled off by the Pyi-enees and Carpathians, divergent and isolated, 
are the Tagus, the Elbe, and other single rivers, affluents of the Baltic, 
the. Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Euxine. 

Descending /ro?/! common radiant points, and diverging every way from 
one another, no intercommunication exists between the rivers of Eui-ope : 
navigation is petty and feeble : nor have art and commerce, during many 
centuries, united so many small valleys, remotely isolated by impenetrable 

Hence upon each river dwells a distinct people, differing from all the 
rest in race, language, habits, and interests. Though often politically 
amalgamated by conquest, they again relapse into fragments from innate 
geographical incoherence. The history of these nations is a story of per- 
petual war ; of mutual extermination ; and an appalling dramatic cata- 
logTie of a few splendid tyrannies, crushing multitudinous millions of 
submissive and unchronicled serfs. 


Exactly similar to Europe, though grander in size and population, ia 
Asia. From the stupendous central barrier of the Himalayas run the 
four great rivers of China, due east, to discharge themselves beneath the 
rising sun : towards the south run the rivers of Cochin China, the Ganges, 
and the Indus : towards the tcest, the rivers of the Caspian : and north 
through Siberia to the Arctic Seas, many rivers of the first magnitude. 

During fifty centuries, as now, the Alps and Himalaya Mountains have 
proved insuperable barriers to the amalgamation of the nations around 
their bases and dwelling in the valleys which radiate from their slopes. 
The continent of Africa, as far as we know the details of its surface, is 
even more than these split into disjointed fragments. Such also, in a less 
degree, is South America. 

Thus, whilst Northern America opens towards heaven in an expanded 
bowl to receive and fuse harmoniously whatever enters within its rim : so 
each of the other continents, presenting a bowl reversed, scatters every- 
thing from a central apex into radiant distraction. Political empires 
and societies have in all ages conformed themselves to these emphatic 
geographical facts. 

The American Republic is then predestined to expand and fit itself to 
the continent. Much is uncertain, yet through all the vicissitudes of the 
future, this much of eternal truth is discernible : In geography the an- 
tithesis of the Old World, in society it is and will be. the reverse. 

North America will rapidly attain to a population equalling that of 
the rest of the world combined : forming a single people, identical in 
manners, language, customs, and impulses: preserving the same civiliza- 
tion, the same religion : imbued with the same opinions, and having the 
same political liberties. 

Of this we have two illustrations now under our eye : the one passing 
away, the other advancing. The aboriginal Indian race, among whom, 
from Darien to the Esquimaux, and from Florida to Vancouver's Island, 
exists a great identity in their hair, comj^lexion, features, stature, and 
language. And second, in the instinctive fusion into one language, and 
one new race, of immigrant Germans, English, French, and Spanish, whose 
individuality is obliterated in a single generation ! 

It is thus that the holy question of our Uiiion lies in the bosom of 
nature : its perpetuity in the hearts of a great democratic people, imbued 
with an understanding and austere reverence for her eternal promptings 
and ordinances. It lies not in the trivial temporalities of political taxation, 
African slavery, local power, or the nostrums of orators however eminent. 
It is the truth, established by science, and not the deductions of meta- 
physics, with which the peoj^le must fortify themselves. 


As power resides in the people and the suffrage is its exercise, with 
them also must reside intelligent and wise counsel. To be certain that 
the gi'eat principles on which they rely to strengthen and^ perpetuate 
human rights, are the truthful deductions of exact science^ and in harmony 
vnih nature, is the individual duty of the citizen. To reject what is 
otherwise, is the only safety from usurpation and tyranny. 

To assert that the mass are deficient in intelligence to comprehend and 
use familiarly the truth of science^ is the language of tyrants and perfectly 
false. Behold an eternal example of universal dissemination and familiar 
use of scientific truths. 

The alphabet of tioenty-six letters and the numerals of ten figures are 
the most profound, condensed, and sublime forms of abstract truth which 
science has or can give to the human race. How many ages and how 
great a mass of intellectual analysis and research consumed itself to reach 
this abstract quintessence of truth, has not come to us with the inventions 

At sight of a volume printed, or a newspaper, the intelligent savage is 
crushed with a sense of despair, not knowing that a few years of study 
will render intelligible to him this mass of chaotic mystery. The child of 
civilized society, on the contrary, commencing with the alphabet which 
science has discovered and bequeathed, accepts it through faith^ com- 
bines letters into syllables, syllables into words, words into sentences, and 
has opened to him, by an easy ascent, the knowledge which written lan- 
guage has accumulated and perpetuated since its invention, some thousands 
of years ago. 

Believing that abstract truth, wherever reached in other departments 
of human affairs — as for instance in geography — may, in like manner as 
the alphabet, be universally received, trusted, and used by the people, I 
have written these remarks and constructed the map which accompanies 
them. They agree with the speculations of the scientific writers whom 
I have been able to consult, especially Humboldt and Jefferson. 

If this abstract of simple geographical elements be truth, then should 
they stand the basis of political reason, as the Ten Commandments stand 
in the field of religion. Admitted to be true, the future of the Ameri- 
can Eepublic, expanding to fit the continent, as the human foot within 
a shoe, and brightening the world with its radiance, is familiarly dis- 

The general continental geography, filling up the details of its surface, 
as the flesh and muscles cover the human skeleton, will readily be con- 
ceived in the mind, and assume order and symmetry. 

Variety of climates and of altitude : the consequent distribution of iudus- 


try: the immense commerce which will adjust the interchanges of so vast 
a surface, so variously occupied : the union by public works of the fluvial 
arteries descending opposite slopes : the connections with the external 
continents : and the forms of Stiites, rising consecutively till they shall 
number one hundred : All these successive events become the current 
creations of a natural order of progress, and will be the easy deductions 
of exact calculation of time from statistical data. 

To come finally to solve the question of the construction of the Pacific 
Railroad^ it is necessary to analyze the present condition of commerce, 
both of our own and external countries : how far it is friendly or hostile 
to the immense modifications such a new route will engender : to probe 
the temper and force of political power and jealousies : to reason out and 
balance the friendly and hostile elements that bear upon it : and finally, 
to subject to the most searching scrutiny tlie topograpldcal character of 
the immense space of our continent interrupted by the " Plateau of the 
Table Lands," the great mountain ranges of the Sierra Madre, and the 
Andes, with their external slopes. To such a complete discussion, this is 


I HAVE mentioned in the preceding chapter, in which I endeavored to 
delineate, in a condensed form, the abstract geographical elements of our 
continent, that I had compiled, with great labor, a map, exhibiting to the 
eye, as it were in daguen-eotype, what is so difficult to make comprehensi- 
ble in writing to the popular mind. 

In truth, this simple classification has long ago suggested itself to me, 
resulting from observations made and facts collected during immense jour- 
neys, which I have made out to the rim of the continent, on all its coasts — 
sometimes as a solitary pioneer, and at others in the military service. 
These wanderings have extended over thirty years of time, and more than 
one hundred thousand miles ! 

Uncertain as to the accuracy of these facts, long rendered indistinct and 
hazy by the vastness of the details — finding myself everywhere repelled 
by the soi-disant learned in science and politics ; and being, also, without 
the pecuniary means to reach the people, it is only now that I venture 
to appear before them. Neither do I rely upon my own reflections 


The world lias lately received from the learned Humboldt his two works, 
" Cosmos" and " The Aspects of Nature." This pre-eminent veteran in 
science commenced sixty years ago to hive and condense the truths that 
he now gives us in these small volumes. Nine years were then given by 
him to exploration and study among the Andes of South America and 
Mexico, and subsequently ten years among the Himalayas of Central 
Asia. It is only now, at the age of eiglity years, that he ventures to give 
to the world the condensed quintessence of a whole life of travel, intense 
study, rigid analysis, and meditation. 

Though not clearly known to him (for he has not visited our country, 
or been able to collect the material, to supply this deficiency, from others), 
he has, in his delineations of Peru and Mexico, exactly sketched our own 
Andes in California and Oregon. 

His descriptions of the great plateaux of Central Asia, the Caspian 
Sea, and Thibet, with their surrounding mountain chains, applied to our 
continent, solve for us the enigma of our own geography. Indeed, if the 
continent of Asia be turned at right angles, so that Siberia should face 
the rising sun, it would almost exactly resemble and explain all North 
America included between the trough of the Mississippi and the Pacific. 
In short, in these small volumes — " Notes on Virginia" and " Cosmos" 
— of the brave apostles of truth, Jefierson and Humboldt, — in these we 
have condensed facts enough to guide us to the most distinct and perfect 
ffolution of the whole scheme of our own continental geography. 

To resume, then, the discussion of geographical facts, and approach cau- 
tiously, step by step, the location made by nature for the Continental 
Railroad, we must have clearly in the mind the great central crest of the 
Sierra Madre, and the two sides of the continent sloping on either 
hand to the oceans. Yery many great rivers, bursting from the eastern 
mountain flank, descend, without rapids, by the Mississippi to the Grulf ; 
by the St. Lawrence to the North Atlantic. Even the Alleghanies, having 
but 2000 feet elevation, present but a secondary obstacle. 

Abundant routes exist, therefore, whereby a railroad may pass up from 
the eastern coast line of the continent to the flanks of the Sierra Madre. 
Whatever slight elevations may exist in the general surface, they are all 
perforated successively by continuous rivers, whose banks offer water- 
grades uninterrupted during the whole ascent. No difficulty here presents 

But " that side of the American continent which may be defined to 
front Asia, and sheds its waters in that direction, has these four charac- 
teristic divisions : the maritime front, the Andes, the Plateau OE the 
Table Lands, and the Sierra Madre ; all extending the whole length, 


from south to north, parallel to one another, and covering, in the aggre- 
gate, two-fifths of its whole area." 

The maritime front is narrow, has many small streams in which the 
flowing tide reaches the base of the Andes, and presents no obstacles of 
any significance. Through the two Cordilleras, the Andes, and the 
Sierra Madre, which flank and elevate themselves above the level of 
the Table Lands, are many passes admitting of the passage of rail- 
roads, but merely from the outside on to the Table Lands within. 

The Table Lands are, however, ribbed by latitudinal ranges of moun- 
tains, of immense bulk and height. The solution, therefore, condenses 
itself to the discovery of a single line, whereby the Sierra Madre, the ribs 
of the Table Lands, the lofty crest of the Andes, and its abrupt western 
wall, may all be continuously and consecutively overcome, surmounted, or 

I quote from a memoir given to the public by myself, some years ago, 
this description of the Table Lands : — 

The distance to the Pacific from the top of the Sierra Madre (Rocky 
Mountains), where you leave behind the waters flowing to the Atlantic, 
is everywhere some 1500 miles. The toijogroplucal character of this 
ultramontane region is very grand and characteristic. It is identical with 
the region at the sources of the La Plata, Amazon, and Magdalena, of South 
America, but more immense. 

Sketched by its great outlines it is simply this : The chain of the Andes, 
debouching north from the Isthmus, opens like the letter Y into two 
primary chains (Cordilleras). On the right, the Sierra Madre, trending 
along the coast of the Mexican Gulf, divides the Northern Continent 
almost centrally, foi-ming an unbroken water-shed to Behring's Strait. On 
the left, the Andes follows the coast of the Pacific, warps around the Gulf 
of California, and, passing along the coast of California and Oregon (under 
the name of Sierra Nevada), terminates also near Behring's Strait. 

The immense interval between these chains is a succession of intra- 
montane basins, seven in number, and ranging from south to north. The 
whole forms the great Plateau of the Table Lands. 

First, is the " Basin of the City of Mexico," receiving the interior 
drainage of both Cordilleras, which waters, having no outlet to either 
ocean, are dispersed again by evaporation. 

Second, the " Bolson de Mapimi," collecting into the Laguna the 
streams draining many States, from San Luis Potosi to Coahuila, also 
without any outflow to either ocean. 

Third, the " Basin of the Del Norte," whose vast area feeds the Rio 



del Norte, the Conchos, and Pecos. These, concentrated into the Eio 
Grrande del Norte, behind the Sierra Madre, have, by their united volume, 
burst through its wall and found an outlet towards the Atlantic. The 
geological character of this basin, its altitude, its configuration and locality, 
all assign it this position, as distinguishing it from all others contributing 
their waters to the Atlantic. 

Fourth, the " Basin of the Great Colorado of the West." This im- 
mense basin embraces above the great rivers Rio Verde and Rio Grrande, 
whose confluent waters, penetrating the mighty Cordillera of the Andes 
athwart, from base to base, discharge themselves into the Gulf of Califor- 
nia. Into this sublime gorge (the Canon of the Colorado^ the human 
eye has never swept for an interval of 575 miles. So stern a character 
does Nature assume where such stupendous mountains resist the passage 
of such mighty rivers. 

Fifth, the " Basin of the Great Salt Lake," like the Caspian of Asia, 
containing many small basins within one great rim, and losing its scattered 
waters by evaporation, has no outflow to either ocean. 

Sixth, the "Basin of the Columbia," lying across the northern flanks 
of the two last, and grand above them all in position and configuration. 
Many great rivers, besides the Snake and Upper Columbia, descend from 
the great arc of the Sierra Madre, where it circles towards the northwest 
from 43° to 52°, flow from east to west and concentrate above the Cas- 
cades into a single trunk. This here strikes the mighty Cordillera of the 
Andes (narrowed to one ridge), and disgorges itself through this sublime 
pass at once into the open Pacific. 

It is Ziere, descending by the grade of this river the whole distance from 
the rim of the Yalley of the Mississippi, and through the Andes to the 
Pacific, that the great debouch of the American Continent towards the 
West is found ; and here will be the pathway of future generations of the 
New World, as the people of the Old World pass down the Mediterranean 
and out by Gibraltar. 

Above^ the " Basin of Frazer River" forms a seventh of the Table 
Lands. This has burst a canon through the Andes, and, like the fourth 
and sixth basins, sends its waters to the Pacific. With the geography of 
the more northern region we are imperfectly acquainted, knowing, how- 
ever, that from Puget Sound to Behring's Strait the wall of the Andes 
forms the beach itself of the Pacific, whilst the Sierra Madre forms the 
western rim of the basins of the Saskatchewan of Hudson Bay, and the 
Athabasca of the Arctic Seas. 

Thus, then, briefly we arrive at this great cardinal department of the 
geography of the continent, viz. .: the Table Lands, — being a longitudi- 


nal section (about two-seveuths of its whole area), intermediate between 
the two oceans, but walled off" from both, and having but three outlets 
for its waters, viz. : the caiions of the Rio Grande, the Colorado, and the 
Columbia. Columnar basalt forms the basement of this whole region, 
and volcanic action is everywhere prominent. 

Its general level, ascertained upon the lakes of the different basins, is 
about 6000 feet above the sea. Rain seldom falls, and timber is rare. The 
ranges of mountains which separate the basins are often rugged, and capped 
with perpetual snow, whilst isolated masses of great height elevate them- 
selves from the plains. This whole formation abounds in the precious 
metals. Such is the region of the Table Lands. 

Beyond these is the Pacific maritime region. The great wall of the 
Andes, receding from the beach of the Pacific, leaves between itself and 
the sea a half valley, as it were, forming the seaboard slope from San 
Diego to the Straits of Juan de Fuca. This is 1200 miles in length, and 
200 broad. Across it descend to the sea a series of fine rivers, ranging 
fi'om south to north, like the little streams descending from the Allegha- 
nies to the Atlantic. These are the San Gabriel, the Buenaventura, the 
San Joachim and Sacramento, the Rogue, Tlameth, and Umqua Rivers : 
the Wallamette and Columbia, the Cowlitz, Chekalis, and Nasqually, of 
Puget Sound. 

This resembles and balances the maritime slope of the Atlantic side of 
the continent ; but it is vastly larger superficially ; of the highest agricul- 
tural excellence ; basaltic in formation ; grand beyond the powers of 
description. The snowy points and volcanoes of the Andes are every- 
whei-e visible from the sea ; whilst its climate is entirely exempt from the 
frosts of winter. 

The configuration of the Sierra Madre (the Mother Mountain of the 
world) is transcendently massive and sublime. Rising from a basement 
whose roots spread out 2000 miles and more, its crest sjilits almost cen- 
trally the Northern Continent, and divides its waters to the two oceans. 

Novel terms have been introduced to define its characteristics. 3Iesa, 
expresses the level plateaux of its summits. Canon, the gorges rent in 
its slopes by the descending rivers. Bute, the conical mountains isolated 
and trimmed into symmetrical peaks by atmospheric corrosion. 

Everybody has seen the card-houses built by children in the nurseiy. 
Suppose three of these in a row, having a second story over the centre : 
this toy familiarly delineates a transverse section of the Sierra jMadre. 
The top of this upper story represents the central primary mesa of the 
Cordillera — its summit a great plain, descending on both flanks by a per- 
pendicular wall of 6000 feet to the level of the second mesa, or steppe. 


Towards the west the second mesa fills the whole space to the Andes, 
whose farther side descends abruptly to the tide-level of the Pacific. This 
is again what has been before described at length as the Great Table 

But towards the east the second mesa forms a piedmont, rent into peaks 
by the fissures of innumerable streams. This piedmont, called by us the 
Black Hills, masks the front of the Sierra Madre from end to end. So 
completely is it torn and rent by the perplexity of water-courses, that 
patches alone are left to define the original plateau. These are the east- 
ern envelope of the basin of the Yellowstone, the Laramie Plain (between 
the Plattes), the Batone and the Llano Estacado of Texas. Beneath this 
the third mesa (or steppe) is that superlative region, the Great Prairie 
Plains, whose gentle slope forms a glacis to the Gulf through Texas, and 
in front to the trough formed by the Mississippi Biver from Itasca Lake 
to the Balize. 

It is this vastness of geographical configuration which leads the glance 
of the engineer with unerring certainty to that line of natural grades 
from ocean to ocean, the discovery of which mankind now awaits with 
the keenest interest, and along which the American nation is resolved to 
construct the consummate work of art — the Asiatic and European 

Advancing north along the comh of the Sierra Madre from below 
Mexico, you find at the sources of the Platte (Sweetwater) a wide gap, 
where, the high mesa suddenly giving out for the space of forty miles, the 
second mesa passes through from east to west, the continued water-ridge 
being scarcely perceptible among its gentle undulations. This is the 
'■'■South Pass." 

It is so named as being the most soiithern pass to which you may ascend 
by an affluent of the Atlantic, and step immediately over, to a stream de- 
scending directly to the Pacific. This name is as ancient as the pass 
itself. Into it concentrate the great trails of the bufialo, geographers 
and road-makers by instinct, before the coming of man. 

The Indian, the Mexican, and the American, successors of one another, 
have not improved or deflected from the instincts of the bufialo, nor will 
they, whilst the mountains last in their present unshattered bulk. The 
South Pass has a towering grandeur, in keeping with the rivers between 
which it is the avenue (the Missouri, the Colorado, and the Columbia), all 
of which, issuing from the wall of the Wind Biver Mountain, come out 
of it upon the second mesa, at the same level, and into which they imme- 
diately commence burrowing their caiions of descent to the seas. 

Here, then, is the route, the southern route, of the National Bailroad, 


ascendiug by tlie water-grade of the Platte to the top of the second mesa, 
where it forms the summit, following the level of this mesa along the base 
of the high mesa, to the Columbia (Snake River), and descending its 
water-grade clear to the Pacific. 

The distance from the Platte to the Columbia has not been accurately 
ascertained, though by the present wagon-road, which crosses a corner of 
the Salt Basin, it is less than 300 miles. Here is that double-inclined 
plane, to find which has been the first essential in every line of transpor- 
tation existing in the world. There is none south of this, because every- 
where the basins of the Table Lands overlap and envelop one another, 
so that the jDasses lead merely from one of these into another ; nor are 
there any natural tunnels through the precipitous walls of the Andes, and 
between the basins. 

The Columbia, running acrosa the Table Lands from east to west, dis- 
tributes the descent of 8500 feet equally along its course of 1200 miles, 
and tunnels the great ranges of Blue Mountains and the Andes. This 
whole course of the river is a continuity of rapids, having three falls, the 
American Falls of thirty feet at Portneuf, the Salmon Falls of forty-five 
feet, 200 miles below, and the Chuttes of twelve feet, near the Dalles. 
This river-grade is then as rapid as the descent to be accomplished will 
admit of; for, distributed into long levels and steep grades, it would 
immensely impair the utility of the whole work, and fatally impede 

The great Colorado runs diagonally across the Table Lands, dehouch- 
ing into the Gulf of California; but has its course and those of its great 
aflfluents parallel with the mountain ranges, which are scored with un- 
fathomed canons, perplexing the traveller with an infinity of impassable 
ridges, among which the water-courses are embowelled. 

Here is that immense and complex labyrinth of mountain ribs, whose 
great height and arid character have heretofore defied every effort to 
explore or penetrate. Its impenetrability cannot be made to yield to art, 
in a direct line, owing to the whole space from the Sierra Madre to the 
Pacific, bristling with parallel ribs of snowy mountains. 

The rivers penetrate these diagonally, and are sunk in canons, burrowed 
deep into their roots. North of the South Pass, however, exist many 
single passes, where the higher branches of the Missouri and Columbia 
interlock. These circuitous routes have all the same termini as that of the 
South Pass, for they also descend the same two rivers to the seas. 

Thus between the South Pass and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec there 
exists no straight railroad route, owing to the longitudinal courses of the 
rivers, the complexity of the basins, and the double barrier of primary 

198 ArPEXDix. 

mountain chains. To the north, other passes exist, which future genera- 
tions may cleTelop, and on which navigation may be used for four-fifths ot 
the whole distance. 

True it is that potential fashion now exalts the maritime basin of Cali- 
fornia, San Francisco Bay, into the haven of hope and fortune of the new 
seaboard, whilst the sublime basin of the Columbia and its magnificent 
river harbors are banished from public favor. The basin of San Fran- 
cisco is small, and an isolated spot to reach from the interior. No great 
river gives it access to the Mississippi Valley, from which it is cut off by 
the basins of the Salt Lake, the Colorado, and the Del Norte, overlapping 
each other. 

The Columbia is larger than the Danube, and equal to the Ganges. In 
size, climate, agriciiltural excellence, capacity for population, and its won- 
derful circular configuration, the basin of the Columbia surpasses both of 
these others. The mouth of the Columbia, a salient point upon the open 
coast, more than any other central and convenient to the whole North 
Pacific and Asia, is, in size, depth of water, safety, and facility of ingress 
or egress, equal to San Francisco. As the mouth of the gi-eatest river 
descending from our continent into the Pacific, it is perhaps more valuable. 
It is eight degrees south of Liverpool, having the climate of Bordeaux, 
IMarseilles, or Savannah. 

Why is not the deep sea navigation concentrated at Korfolk, on Hamp- 
ton Eoads, the finest harbor of the whole Atlantic ? Why, rather, is it 
found at New York and New Orleans, accessible only through every dan- 
ger that can menace shipping ? Why, because the former is the outlet 
of the basin of the St. Lawrence, the latter of the Mississippi. The ship- 
ping of commerce goes to where cargoes can be found. 

Less than fifty years ago, fashion pronounced the little ravines of James 
River and the Connecticut the proud spots of America, and held the great 
uninhabitable wastes of the Mississippi and its tuinavigated streams as 
worthy only to balance codfish .' 

This same splenetic spirit ot fashion now manufactures a similarly ridic- 
tilous misdirection for the energy of the pioneers, by setting up what the 
geologist would call a " pot-hole of the Andes," against the grand Colum- 
bia. Commerce, provident like every other department of industry, makes 
herself harbors with charts, pilots, buoys, and beacons. The shallowest 
channel of the Columbia has thirty-five feet of water — the deepest of New 
York twenty-nine. 

Thus does Nature, piously appealed to, and calmly consulted, exhaust, 
bring to a close, and settle, by eternal facts, the various ojiinions which 


perplex tlie public mind in locating the continental railroad. The national 
will must wisely listen to and obey her promptings. Postponement, defeat, 
and failure will overwhelm every eflPort to depart from the water-grade, 
or to penetrate, perforate, or surmount in any other way the Titanic rigidity 
of the table lands. 

The obstinate advocacy of any other route is insidious and hostile in 
the lump to the work entirely. The loater-gradc of the continent is simply 
this : — The road, leaving the west bank of the Missouri, pursues the Platte 
River along the facile ascent of its south bank to the South Pass ; this 
is some 750 miles : thence along the smooth level of the South Pass, 250 
miles to Snake River : thence down the facile descent of Snake River to 
the Columbia, 900 miles. This route is the shortest and best across 
America ; it is, in practical fact, a level from end to end ; the grading is 
complete throughout ; the mountains are all tunnelled ; the climate dry 
and propitious. 

There remain to be described the peculiarities of climate, and the bear- 
ing upon our subject of the immense interests of ocean commerce and 
political power. 


In two former chapters I have endeavored to grasp the geogi'aphical 
view of the continental railway — to winnow its immense com- 
plexity — to shake loose a few simple /«c<s engorged in obscurity — and to 
stand face to face and in council with Nature. 

We have seen that Nature, thus candidly appealed to, leads us point 
blank to the supreme pass of the continent, the South Pass, and thence 
traces with her unending finger to the right, and to the left, the double 
water-grade to the seas — by the Platte to the Atlantic, by the Snake 
River to the Pacific. 

But public opinion is perplexed by a systematic obscuration of facts, 
long and vehemently repeated, in other things besides geography. This 
route is ^'ronounced northern; the climate hostile; accumulated snows 
are insisted upon ; the Indians impracticable ; the work itself herculean ; 
poi^ulation, provisions, material to build, and work for the road, wanting; 
the length of the road is pronounced insuperable, and its cost enormous. 
These objections all fall absolutely bcfijre a favi facts of nature, here emi- 
nently clear and emphatic. Let us appeal to them and decide ! 


Climate controls the migTations of tlae liuman race, which have 
steadily adhered to an " isothermal zodiac" or belt of equal warmth, 
around the world. The extremely mild temperature of our icestcrn sea- 
board is the consequence of the same great laws of nature which operate 
in Western Europe. These are the regular and fixed ordinances of the 
code of nature, to which the migrations of man, in common with the 
animals, yield an instinctive obedience. , 

Within the torrid zone of the globe, from the equator to the 28th 
degree of north latitude, blow the trade tcinds and variables, always from 
the east and northeast, all round the world. But in the succeeding belt 
from 28° to 60°, the winds have an opposite or compensating direction, 
from the west and southwest, all round the globe. 

These latter wind-currents reach the tcesfern coasts of America and 
Europe after traversing the expanse of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. 
Warmed to the temperature of these oceans, they imjxirt again this same 
mild atmosphere to the maritime fronts of the continents which receive 
them. These same winds, passing onward over great extensions of con- 
tinent of low temperature, covered with snow or frozen during winter : 
often warped upwards by mountain ranges, becoming exhausted of their 
warmth, have, upon the eastern expansions of the continents, an exactly 
opposite efifect upon the climate. 

Hence the variant temperature of New York, and Lisbon, in Portugal, 
which face one another, on opposite sides of the Atlantic — of San Fran- 
cisco, and Pekin, in China, similarly opposite, upon the Pacific. 

At San Francisco and at Lisbon, the seasons are but modulations of one 
continuous summer. At New York and at Pekin, winter annually sus- 
pends vegetation during seven months, whilst ice and snow bind up the 
land and waters. These four cities are all close upon the same parallel 
of latitude, the fortieth degree north. 

Thus is it manifest why in Asia the mass of population is congre- 
gated on and south of the fortieth degree, and in Europe north of it. In 
America it again curves to the south on the eastern face of our continent, 
to rise northward again on the warm Pacific coast. Within this undu- 
lating belt of the north temjjcrate zone, in breadth about thirty-three de- 
grees, are included four-fifths of all the land and nine-tenths of the world's 

Here has been the progressive march of the human race round the 
world, commencing in the farthest Orient, and forming a zodiac of nations 
towards the setting sun. In this have been retained similar tastes, simi- 
lar industrial pursuits, similar food and clothing, requiring similarity of 
climate, and recoilino; alike from the torrid and from the arctic zones. 


If, then, the mind retains the simple facts, that all our present terri- 
tory between the oceans lies within this zone, where the winds flow always 
from the west, we arrive at the solution, as well of the different modifica- 
tions of climate along the same parallel of latitude, as of the variety in the 
vegetable covering of the surface : — why the eastern portion is clothed 
with dense forests, the central portion with prairie grasses only, and why 
the great fertile plains of the high mountains and of the Table Lands are 
yet of an arid hardness and naked of all urhorescence. 

The amount of irrigating rains falling upon the face of the land from 
the clouds, regulates this. The oceans are the reservoirs which supjjly clouds 
to the atmosphere. The vapors, rising from the whole surface of the 
ocean into the higher regions of the atmosphere, form themselves, at a cold 
elevation, into natural balloons, or clouds. 

These, carried by currents of air over the land, and rising still higher, 
become condensed and distil themselves upon the earth in the form of 
rain. Those holding vapor in the form least concentrated, spill it out in 
the regions near the sea. Others attain to a high degree of concentra- 
tion, retaining the form of clouds until they reach the central regions of 
the continents and a great elevation. 

But we have seen that the great snoicy Cordillera of the Andes lines 
the whole western seaboard of North America, being in sight of vessels 
sailing up the sea, from the Gulf of California to Behring's Strait. The 
winds coming from the icest and over the ocean, blow against this wall. 
On this elevated summit of perpetual congelation, water becomes ice, as 
solid and permanent as the cold lava-rock. The irrigating influence of 
the Pacific Ocean is here abruptly stopped and entirely ceases. 

The great eastern slope of our continent, however, descending by gentle 
inclined planes to all the seas, receives, without any geographical inter- 
ruption, the irrigating winds and clouds of those seas. The barrier of the 
AUeghanies diminishes, but does not stop, the inflowing of vapoi's. But we 
have seen that the winds blow perpetually /rom the vjest. The inward 
progress, then, of the atmospheric vapors is by this continually repelled. 

The vegetation of the continent reveals to us the result of this conflict 
between winds and the gradual exhaustion of the atmo-spheric vapors, 
with an exactness as complete as that with which the thermometer indi- 
cates temperature. 

The maritime decliviti/, the AUeghanies, and the countries between the 
latter and the troughs of the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, are densely clad 
with timber. So are the States of Louisiana, Arkansas, and South Missouri ; 
receiving clouds from the Gulf partly, and partly from the Atlantic. West- 
ward and northward the timber gradually tapers away ; still following in 


' narrow lines along tte rivers, but leaving tlie uplands and ridges to tlie 
luxuriant prairie grasses. Soon, however, tlie timber abandons its strug- 
gle to grow, and ceases entirely. 

Onward, however, from tbe last fringe of timber, for some hundred 
miles, the irrigation continues to preserve the mellowness of the soil, 
and a sward of tall, luxuriant grasses covers the whole smooth expanse of 
nature. This, in turn, gradually dwarfs under the decreasing irrigation, 
tapering into the delicate curled grass of the buffalo plains, which is scarce 
half an inch in height, and resembles the wool of a lamb. 

Finalhj, grass itself fails, and the general characteristic of the surface 
of the great Sierra Madre and the plateau of the Table Lands is total 
nakedness of any nutritious vegetable covering. The soil is either com- 
pactly hard, or resembles dry ashes. The surface is here sparsely clothed 
with dwarfed wormwood and the prickly pear, — funereal plants, which 
seem as careless of moisture as is the salamander of fire. 

Such are the great primary laws of Nature which decide the climate 
and vegetation of our continent. Interruptions and modifications of these 
laws are innumerable. Nature ii everyiohere loise. Compensations exist 
in all these countries, so eccentrically novel to us, which will win for them 
the densest populations. No deserts of silicious sand, like those of Arabia 
and Africa, exist in America, nor are such possibla The only formation 
of silicious sand is the Atlantic declivity, whose soil soon wastes under 
culture ; and the ocean washes this. 

The great bowl made up of the basins of the interior is everywhere 
calcareous. The soil which covers the two great Cordilleras, the Table 
Lands and the Pacific declivity, is the intrinsically fertile decay of basaltic 
and lava formations. Thirst alone causes its nakedness and apparent 
aridity. Where this thirst is quenched with a frugal supply of water, it 
shows an abundant and inexhaustible fertility. G-reat rivers are every- 
where full and convenient. 

Thus are all the successive varieties of climate, vegetation, and soil 
explained by the gradual attenuation of the rains, as we recede from the 
ocean. Vice versa, these conditions of the atmosphere and land attest 
the absence of vapor in the former. All secondary phenomena, such as 
the annual fires of the great prairies of long grass, are consequences of 
the aridity of the autumnal and winter atmosphere, and not causes of the 
absence of timber. 

Again, the elevation of the plain of the South Pass is 7800 feet above 
the sea. The streams which collect and carry off" its waters — Sweetwater 
to the east and Sandy to the west — are only large rivulets, though their 
courses are lona;. The amount of rain in summer and snow in icinter 


upon the Wciter-grade of tlie Platte and Snake Ilivers, and in the South 
Pass between them, is so insignificant as to bear no comparison in amount 
with those between Boston and Buffalo ! 

But the stupendous masses of the Wind Eiver Mountains rise in the 
northern horizon of the South Pass to an altitude of 14,000 feet. Their 
great elevation draws down the vapors loft in the atmosphere, which 
clothe their summits with perpetual, and their flanks with winter snows. 

These supply waters to the great rivers, and cover the flanks and gorges 
of the great mountains with immense forests. The same is the case 
elsewhere with the great primui-)/ mountain chains, such as the Utah or 
Wasatch and the Salmon River Mountains. But the secondary moun- 
tains and passes are entirely naked of timber, having upon them neither 
rains nor snows at any season. 

But an extraordinary fact here develops itself. If from the point 
where the junction of several small streams forms the Kansas Biver, 120 
miles due west from the Missouri Biver, as a centre^ a circle be described 
touching the boundary line of 49° as a tangent, the opposite side 
of the circle will pass through the seaport of IMatagorda in Texas, 
through New Orleans and Mobile. This point is, therefore, the centre, 
north and south, of our country. If from the same centre a larger circle 
be described, it will pass through San Francisco, and through Vancouver 
City, on the Columbia, exactly grazing the whole coast between them. 
The same circle will pass through Quebec and Boston on the Atlantic, 
through Havana on the Grulf, and through the city of Mexico. The same 
point is then the centre between the oceans. 

Thus, at the forks of the Kansas River a point exists, in latitude 38° 
45', and longitude 97° west of Greenwich, which is the Geographical 
Centre — north and south, east and west — at once of our whole national 
territory, of the basin of the Mississijij^i, and of the continent of North 
America ! 

The facts, then, which concentrate themselves to locate the Continental 
Raihoau at the line of water-grades from ocean to ocean, sum themselves 
up conclusively in its favor and against all others. 

From Baltimore and New York, through St.' Louis to Kansas, this 
road is'now under contract and construction. For this distance the route 
traverses a country guttei'ed with rivers : interrupted by the narrow and 
abrupt ribs of the Alleghany chain : covered with timber : having a fitful 
climate vexed with immense rains and snows : the surface infinitely chan- 
nelled with water-courses and perplexed with innumerable ravines, alter- 
nating with steep and narrow hills. 

Yet this half of the whole road progresses over all these difficulties 


with sucli ease and celerity, that argument of its impracticability is not 
tolerated. But against the remaining half of the road, from Kansas to 
Astoria, these arguments are tolerated, though in truth they have all ceased, 
and such obstructions and impediments have no existence in nature. 

The remaining half from Kansas to Astoria crosses no river of any 
magnitude, yet pursues the banks of great rivers continuously the whole 
distance. The banks of these rivers, rising but a few feet above the 
water surface, are of immense width, perfectly hard and dry, and smooth 
as a water level. Such is the general characteristic of the Platte and 
Columbia from end to end. 

The plain of the South Pass is almost as smooth and hard as a marble 
pavement, and is of a general breadth exceeding thirty miles. Not a 
single eminence exists in the whole distance but is tunnelled by these 
rivers down to the general grade. On the track everywhere is material 
in every variety of form and in the sublimest abundance. 

Lumber exists in abundance in the high mountains to the right and 
left. Iron can be supplied at the ends and upon the navigable rivers, 
brought from Europe if necessary, as it now comes for nearly all the rail- 
roads in America. Mineral coal is abundant from end to end. Rock in 
every variety — granite, basa!lt, lava, limestone, and gypsum. The Platte 
perforates a great range of mountains of gypsimi ; the Snake River a 
less one of rock-salt. 

This route is not northern, but exactly central. The sublime order 
and fitness of Nature seems here pre-eminently to vindicate and exemplify 
itself. Upon the Kansas River it plumbs the geographical centre of the 
national territory. From hence it curves northward to Baltimore, the 
most southern Atlantic city of great commercial activity. It curves 
gently to the northward to the mouth of the Columbia. This is in lati- 
tude 46° 19', being three degrees south of Havre in France, and eight 
degrees south of Liverpool and Amsterdam. 

Yet the climate of Western America is milder than that of Western 
Europe. It is also uj^on the coasts extending fifteen degrees north of the 
Columbia that the marine of the Pacific will be constructed, as here ai'e 
combined the conveniences of sea-harbors and forests. It is in the Baltic 
and British Isles that all the marine of Europe is built and owned. It is 
likewise on the St. Lawrence and in New England that the marine of 
America is constructed and owned. 

To speak of the obstruction of Indians upon the route is a monstrous 
Imrlesque. The whole aggregate number of men, women, and children, 
within several hundred miles along the flanks of this route, does not 
amount to nine thousand, or one-fifth of the population of Washington 


City ! The most moderate pay would make of them valuable herders of 
stock, and hunters. The pastures now maintain meat upon the hoof, or 
buffalo, to the amount of many millions. A handred iinlUons of tame 
cattle will maintain themselves in the buffalo country, fat in condition 
round the year. Beef is the ajjpropriate food of these dry and Iiigh 

The eastern half of this route, from Baltimore to Kansas, traverses very 
centrally the densest population, the largest production and consumption, 
and consequently the line of greatest travel and commerce. The same 
will be the case with the western h;ilf as soon as the burlesque of " Indian 
occupation" is brushed out of tlie way. The immense mass of pioneers 
in all the elder States chafes to issue out and cover this delightful coun- 
try with republics. 

The country embracing the sources of the Swectwat(!r, Colorado, and 
Snake llivers is a gold country, ecjualling California or Brazil, but inac- 
cessible to ocean navigation. The climate does not, equally as in tliese 
latter countries, pulverize and disintegrate the rock. The gold is in a 
matrix of quartz. The hard 2)<>r[)liyry and lava will descend in immense 
quantities, and tlius economize the paving of the cities of the Valley of 
the Mississijipi. 

One natural production of the eastern edge of the Tablk JjANDS will 
soon repay the cost of the construction of this road. This is salt. 

There are mountains near the sources of Snake lliver, composed of 
stratified masses of rock-salt — just as other river bluffs arc of limestone. 
This, quarried with light tools, and ground to powder, as grain is re- 
duced to flour, is the pure alum salt of commerce. Every living soul of 
America uses salt thrice per day. Every animal requires it as fre(|uently. 
Every ounce of provisions is preserved with it. It is mixed with hay, 
and preserves timber. It is used in the manufactures and fine art,s. 
Brought hence down to the focal ])()int of navigation in Missouri, this 
State will become the distributing [loint of this most valuable, greatest, 
and most indispensable article of conmierce. 

By the last national census, the annual production^ of our country 
reaches the value of three thousand millions of dollars, f^cventy-five per 
cent, of this va food^ which finds no market among tlie comparatively lim- 
ited population of Europe, 205,000,000, who feed themselves. 

Around the Padfic, in front of Astoria, are 745,000,000 of hungry 
Asiatics and Polynesians^ who have groceries, clothing, spices, and por- 
celain, to exchange for meat and grain. 

But the western half of this road departs from the bank of the Mis- 
souri, to which all America has ac -chs at this hour by the navigable 


rivers ; and from Astoria these millions of consumers may be reached 
directly, over a tranquil ocean and under a temperate atmosphere: the 
equatorial heats are only encountered last and at the place of final de- 

No doubt, in the populous, central, food-producing States of Iowa, Mis- 
souri, Arkansas, and Illinois, three hundred millions of dollars' worth of 
produce of industry fail annually to find a market, and the profit thereon 
perishes, for want of this road out from the centre to the noriS/iwestern 
coast 1 

But it is important that the jpeo'ple receive with candor, and allow due 
weight to, the overwhelming and conclusive proofs in favor of this route 
of the water-grades, which Nature, all recorded human experience, and the 
solid science of civil engineering, conspire to submit to their judgment. 
Nature is the sujsreme engineer ; art is prosperous only whilst adhering 
to her teachings. 

We have seen in what a simple and sublime harmony the invisihle force 
of Nature elevates vapors from the sea, forms them into cloud balloons in 
the upper atmosphere, and transports them on currents of air over the 
continents ; how these become condensed and distil themselves over the 
face of the land in the form of irrigating rains. 

This water having performed its renovating duty, by filtering through 
the surface soil, begins again to collect : first in remote hollows and xxn- 
dulations : these unite into rivulets : rivulets into larger streams : streams 
into rivers : rivers into the great fresh-water troughs^ which return this 
drainage from the land, to mix with the salt of the ocean, to be renovated 
and perform again their part in the circulation of nature. 

Now, the use of public loorks to human society is the same as are her 
works to Nature : to bring in and distribute clothing and groceries ; to 
collect and carry out surplus food and productions of every variety. 

Ill the transferring to and fro of the waters of the universe, Nature 
accomplishes as much heavy transportation in a few hours as will sufiice 
the social wants of America for a century. This, then, is all that is sound 
in evil engineering, and comprehends all the good that it has and can 
do for human society : — to select those water-grades where, in further 
imitation of Nature, human energy may smooth the asperities and econom- 
ically adapt to use the curves and grades with which she has everywhere 
furnished the face of the land. 

Thus, then, to recapitulate and sum up the array of facts which con- 
centrate themselves to decide the location of the Continental Rail- 
way. Nature and all sound human experience unite to select the water- 
grade of the Platte and Snake Rivers, and against any departure from it. 


If this route deflects at all from an exact centrality^ it is to the south^ and 
not towards the north, that it bears. Its two halves, diverging from the 
centre., give the shortest lines to the sea, through the countries and popu- 
lations where the work to be done is the greatest, and the necessity for 
it most immediate, pressing, and lasting. 

One-half is located and under construction. As a through road it is 
the shortest North America, most conveniently connecting Asia 
and Europe hy the perpetual line of way travel of all people. Though 
meandering among immense mountain chains, it passes them all by tun- 
nels completely made by nature. 

Neither snow nor rain, nor great rivers, embarrass either its construc- 
tion or its after-use : the climate is pre-eminently propitious : material to 
construct is conveniently at hand, at easy intervals on the right and left : 
fuel and water abundant forever. The pastoral excellence of the whole 
region, combined Avith a dry atmosjDhere and health, supplying meat-food 
and transportation indefinitely, will render easy the immediate influx and 
residence of an immense population. 

The vicinity where the great Sierra Madre is penetrated, and where 
five great rivers have their sources together, is prodigiously prolific in salt, 
hard rock for architecture and paving, medicinal hot springs, all the 
precious metals and jewels, furs, lumber, and the hides of animals. 

If I have delineated with any success, and explained correctl}'^ the fea- 
tures of Nature., in geography, climate, and topography, there remains to 
examine the bearing upon this work of the combined hostile influence of 
ocean commerce allied with politics. Why this great central route, suc- 
cessfully opened in the time of Jeffierson and by the energy of Astor, was 
attacked, stopped, and finally shut up, under President Monroe. And 
why its reopening is still hampered and postponed by the .same remorse- 
less and unrelentin"; enemies. 


There is a region of Missouri and Kmisas of rajjidly rising fame and 
importance, gaining for itself a State and a national reputation, whicli we 
will define as tlie " Region of the Hemp Cultured Specially ftiYored by 
nature in its geographical locality, climate, navigation, and superlative fer- 
tility, this region has become the seat of a hemp culture which has a 
strong, organized, and national foundation. 

The hemp culture receives special attention in twenty counties of West- 
ern Missouri, bisected by the Missouri River, and all adjacent to its two 
shores. They form a belt of land east and west, enclosed between the 
38th and 40th degrees of latitude. 

Here is the production of these counties in hemp, in order as they lie 
along the river — census of 1850 : 





















The aggregate of annual production being 14,173 tons, or 28,346,000 

Since 1850, the hemp culture has increased in vigor, both in the land 
assigned toits culture and in the application of machinery to its produc- 
tion and manufacture. The production of that year, within the above 
region, was 28,346,000 pounds, estimating the ton at 2000 pounds; and 
that of the whole State 16,119 tons, or 32,238,000 pounds. 

The course of the Missouri River through this region of superlative 
fertility may be compared to the Nile flowing through Lower Egypt to the 
Mediterranean. It is in the ability of an abundant and bounteous pro- 
duction that this comparison holds, but not in temperature, climate, or 
physical features. 

In Egypt, the arable and inhabitable district is limited to the ravine of 
the Nile, which is overflowed and irrigated by its waters ; beyond this the 


primeval desert reigns everywhere sui^reme. With us, the same fertility 
characterizes the borders of the stream, which has the same abundance of 
fertilizing waters, the same splendid navigation, the same solemnity in its 
ever-flowing channel, and the same redundancy of benignant attributes 
which have deified the Nile. 

But, on every side, from the gently elevated crest that bounds the 
ravine of the Missouri, expands, with a radius of 1000 miles, that varie- 
gated ca^careoi^s plain, which we define as the "Basin of the Mississqyjn.'^ 
This undulating plain has an area equal in capacity to all the other river 
basins of the world, and combines all their varieties. 

So much does the mind revert to the ocean to explain by comparison its 
exquisite romantic beauty, at once immense and regular, that this hymn to 
the sea may with propriety describe it : 

" Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form 
Glasses itself in tempests ; in all time, 
Calm or convulsed — in breeze, or gale, or storm. 

Dark heaving; — boundless, endless, and sublime — 
The image of eternity — the throne 
Of the Invisible — . . . each zone 
Obeys thee ; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone !" 

The current course of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers is from north 
to south. The latter is so throughout its whole length. 

The llissonri, after a southern course of 3000 miles, receives the Kansas 
River in latitude 39^, turns abruptly to the east, penetrates the State of 
Missouri, and bisects it from west to east, with a channel 4C0 miles in 
length. Into the eastern mouth of this channel, all the great natural 
lines of travel coming from the Atlantic by the St. Lawrence, Ohio, and 
South Mississippi Rivers, concentrate as rays to a focal point. 

They are altogether carried forward to the central west at the mouth of 
the Kansas, where the unbroken prairie formation meets the river, and to 
which the radiant land routes over their expanse, coming from the Gulf 
of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, similarly concentrate. 

This channel is noiv, and is destined prospectively to remain, the most 
thronged and wonderful in the world. It is central, east and uest, to the 
American Continent, to the Basin of the Mississippi, and to the American 
Union. It lies along the axis of that isothermal temperate zone, within 
which is the zodiac of nations, and is also the axis of the population, 
progress, travel, production, consumption, commerce, transportation, and 
habitation of the human race. 

It is the highway from Western Europe to Oriental Asia. It is under 
that line of latitude where all things northern and southern meet and blend 



together — where the day and night, the seasons of the year, labor, the 
growth of nature, and all the elements of human society and of the vege- 
table and animal world, have the widest range, the greatest variety, and 
the highest development. 

Having a double shore, this channel has 800 miles of coast. It has 
the familiar accommodation and safety of a canal, a railroad, or a street. 

Its depth of water and capacity for commerce will receive and carry 
forward the freightage of all the oceans and all the continents. Similar 
channels have been known and used in both ancient and modern times — 
such are the Lower Nile, the Bosphorus, and Dardanelles, the Strait of 
Hercules, the English Channel, the Baltic's mouth, the Hudson from New 
York to Albany — only this has greater length, divides more fertile shores, 
and connects more numerous hosts of nations. 

Such is the Hemp Region. It has an altitude 1000 feet above the sea, 
a salubrity equal to the Table Lands, a fertility su^perior to the Delta of 
Louisiana, an unlimited area, a navigation better than the sea, a climate 
exactly congenial to the white man, a rural beauty forever graceful, fresh, 
and fascinating. 

It is, on a vastly magnified scale, the counterpart of that delicious and 
classic Italy, traversed by the Po, dotted with cities, Venice, Verona, 
Mantua, Milan, of which Shakspeare has written, and where ViRGiL 
and Tasso sung. 

If an ellipse be described extending from the Osage mouth to Fort 
Riley, some 500 miles, and in breadth 300, it will contain that district of 
fat, lustrous soil, exuberant vegetation, graceful beauty, and abundant 
streams, where Nature has bountifully blended all her choicest gifts to 
locate the rural quintessence of America and of the world ! 

Stimulated by the inspiring splendor of their natural position, the 
vigorous population of this region have pursued agriculture, commerce, 
and manufactures with an ambition and success which indicate a growing 
empire in nothing unworthy of their prospective destiny. 

Every department of production and industry has been tried, and all 
thrive. Hemp, tobacco, flax, the grape and wine, silk, sugar, the cereals 
and grasses ; cattle of the finest breeds ; agricultural machinery, flowers, 
steam, and mining. Society exalts its tone by a taste for religious edifices 
and eloquence ; education receives great and universal care ; music and re- 
finement are zealously cultivated. 

Apart from these fascinating gifts of Nature and the promise which 
germinates beneath their warmth, a prestige entwines itself with and illu- 
minates the history of this region. This runs back to the golden time of 
ihe patriarchal founders of our continental empire; it stretches over the 


dark chasm of seaboard monarch}', and has its fountain in the lumi- 
nous Aurora and among the immortal patriots who limned out the profile 
of our continental empire, and inaugurated the march of our destinies. 

We have here among us the graves of Daniel Boone, Geouge 
Rogers Clarke, Laclede, and the names of John Jacob Astor, 
Louis XVL of France, Lasalle, and De Soto, great and intrepid men 
who led or befriended the pioneers, those stars which shone in the first 
twilight of empire. To Jefferson and Jackson we were known, and 
they have been known to us as our friends. 

To understand this prestige and its strength, it is necessary briefly to 
select out and set apart to themselves a few facts in the history of progress, 
which stand along its path, and, like pyramids in the solitude, fix its re- 
markable epochs. 

This system of civilized society, of which we Americans form a part, is 
very ancient, and is inherited. 

History is the journal of its geographical progress, its vicissitudes, its 
struggles, and its energies. Where society has assumed its largest form 
and attained the highest level of civilization and longest endurance, it is 
defined to be an empire. 

History chiefly occupies itself with the biography of these empires, 
their rise, culmination, and decadence. They have appeared, lived, and 
departed, like generations of men. They lie along a serpentine zone of 
the north hemisphere of the globe, within an isothermal belt, and form a 
zodiac thirty-five degrees in width. 

The axis of this zodiac alternates above and below the 40th degree of 
latitude, as the neighborhood or remoteness of the oceans modifies the 
climates of the continents. These empires are the Chinese, the Indian, 
the Persian, the Grecian, the Roman, the Spanish, the British, and, last, 
the Republican Empire of North America. These are the essential ones 
in the regular order of time and upon the hereditary line of progress. 
It is here that the mass of land is the greatest, and where the continents 
most neai'ly approach one another. 

This ZODIAC of nations contains nine-tenths of the white population of 
the globe, and all its civilization. The territory of the American people,^ 
extending across this continent, exactly fills this isothermal zone from 
edge to edge, occupying the whole connecting space between Western 
Europe and Oriental Asia. 

It is on these two fronts of the old continents that the two halves of 
the human race are separately congregated, both fronting America and 
fronting one another, face to face, across America. The straight line of 
intercourse between them, only 10,000 miles in length, pursues the axis 


of the isothermal zone, out of wliich it never deflects either into the torrid 
lieats or the frozen north. 

Here, then, is the tenacious, the divine instinct of progress and liberty, 
•which fired the soul of Columbus, of Washington, of Jefferson, and 
of Jackson. In this faith they lived ; this faith they vindicated and 
never betrayed ; and in this faith they died, to inherit among posterity a 
supreme, untainted immortality. 

This faith forms the inspiration of the Declaration of 1776, animated 
the patriarchal generation, and was renewed and codified in the Constitu- 
tion of '87. It selected Jefferson in 1798, and Jackson in 1828. Its 
eagles are now erected among the pioneers out in the wilderness, in Kan- 
sas, in Utah, in California, and in Oregon. Upon them are embossed the 
ancient rights of man, the continental union, the continental railroad, the 
continental cause ! 

During the administration of Jefferson, central extension, pursuing 
the isothermal axis through the continent, was prosecuted with great vigor 
as the favorite policy of the government. Lewis and Clarke recon- 
noitred and made known the character of the rivers, the mountains, and 
the connections of the Basins of the Mississippi and Columbia by direct 
passes. John Jacob Astor planted trading colonies and paths through 
the wilderness, and upon the bank of the other sea opposite to China. 

The rapid creation of the States of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, 
and Missouri, carried forward the Union in a salient column, embracing 
the water-line of the great rivers and reaching here to the geographical 
centre in 1820 ! Up to that date the Jlanlcs had remained stationary ia 
New York and Georgia. 

The design then was to go through with the parallelogram of central 
States from sea to sea, and from this base to advance outward, planting 
States simultaneously towards the south and towards the north. This 
policy was crippled during the time of Mr. Madison by the vicissitudes 
of foreign war. It was abandoned and reversed by Messrs. Monroe and 

In their time grew up the political divisions of North and South, and 
a maritime policy inaugurated itself Since that date, central progress has 
ab.'uptly stopped, and great activity upon the flanks has brought them up 
to an even front in Iowa, and a greatly advanced position in Texas. 

The central force has, \iov;c\eY, jumped the continent straight to the 
front, occupied the sea-coasts of Oregon and California, and founded the 
new maritime power upon the Pacific and opposite to Asia. 

Since the selection of the site of the city of Independence, in 1824, to 
1854, a chasm in time of thirty years, central extension had rested as 


stagnant as thougli our great river had been frozen at this point into solid 
and perpetual ice. It had been stopped by an artificial cordon of Indian 
tribes and federal law as eifectually as by a continuous wall of brass ex- 
tending from Louisiana to the 49th degree, and rising in altitude from the 
prairie foundation to the clouds. 

Hence is seen the unique and novel sight of a great continental empire, 
formed of a circular shell of States traced round the circumferent seaboard, 
and surrounding a hollow and vacant disk of desert continent. 

Such arc at present the theoretical itrinci^les upon which maritime -poVK-y 
legislates for the great region of our country connecting the States of 
Missouri and California straight across. 

The antagonistic struggle is between the instinct of progress plowing 
out its highway through the continent, along the isothermal axis hy land, 
on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the external shell of maritime 
power to hold the continent in a maritime hoop, and subject its industrial 
greatness to an aiTogant sea-policy. 

In the great city of New York the active instinct of progress has always 
had a working vitality. Like Rome, she has pursued an elastic policy, 
and has planted her commercial colonies at the right time, and in the right 
spots. These colonies, of the first class, are New Orleans, Chicago, and 
San Francisco. With all of these she maintains or needs direct connec- 
tions by steamers, railroads, and telegraphs, as also with Europe in the rear. 

The time is rife for another selection, which oflfers itself in the centre 
of the Mississippi Basin ! A key-point of centrality and radiance, and of 
unrivalled excellence. This is Kansas City, the metropolis of the Hemp 

This young and vigorous city, crowning the southern bank of the 
Missouri River at the point of the angle where it deflects to the east, 
beetles over the avenues to the prairies of the south and west, like Gibral- 
tar at the Strait of Hercules. 

It covers the rear of St. Louis, and confines her to the narrow field of 
the State of Arkansas. By the through railroad, coming by way of Chi- 
cago and Keokuk, crossing the Missouri River at Brunswick, and ascend- 
ing the south bank, an air-line road exists of only fifty hours' time hence 
to New York City. 

The river line of the Missouri, Illinois, and St. Lawrence deflects but 
little from an equal straightness and a similar distance in miles. Railroads 
passing onwards to Galveston into Texas and New Mexico, to San Fran- 
cisco, Utah, and Astoria, will be the shortest lines from New York City 
to all these extremities and various regions of our continent. 

Here will be found the shortest cZia^onaHine wherewith to bisect the 


productive territory and population of the Union towards tlie soKtIiicest, 
tliroiigli the grain, hemp, and pastoral regions, to the sugar of Texas and 
the gold and silver of Mexico. 

It is shorter to Galveston than any route traversing the maritime At- 
lantic States and bending with the sea-coast. It traverses a line of the 
greatest variety of production and largest distribution of gToceries, dry 
goods, and manufactured metals. 

This hemp region is not more celebrated for hemp than it is for tobacco, 
grain, blooded cattle, and wool ; only this former production is not shared 
with surrounding regions, where the latter engross exclusive attention. 
The population of the hemp region, in 1850, was 202,413 ; the assessed 
property §105,449,655. 

Here, then, is an immense and solid foundation wherefrom to grasp 
and control the expanding developments in front, consequent upon tlie 
obliteration of the Indian ban-ier, and the bui-sting forth of the pent-up 
flood of centra? progress, out over ■ the prairies which undulate to Texas, 
Mexico, and the 3Ioiuitains. The front wave of this flood-tide is already 
in motion; its spray sprinkles the Plains almost to the mountain foot. 

The achievements of the coming decade of years will differ from its 
predecessor. It will exhibit a greater mass of energy, concentrated in 
one direction, occupied by a single object, and moving with immense 
means over a very short line, which is perfectly straight and open. 

Heretofore the active force of progress has been operating round the 
rim of our territory, on Lake Superior, in California, in Texas, in Florida: 
in detached sqitadrons separated from the base of old society, by the diam- 
eter of the continent, or keeping up its communication round the cir- 
cumference by sea. The opening decade beholds a concentric advance, 
flooding into the centre and reducing all movements to the shortest radii ! 
Its career opens with a general force of 50,000,000 of population, having 
gold in hand, railroads, steamers, and rivers with prairies on their banks. 
The difficulties of the wilderness are overcome, the temptations every way 
increased, the means of motion enormously accumulated. 

Such is the prosperous future which shines over the central rcest, and 
fills the atmosphere to the remotest horizon. This prospective view is 
not too sanguine, it is not exaggerated, it is only in moderate and appro- 
priate jiroportion to the material long accumulating and now beginning 
to stir with activity through its whole reanimated bulk. 

Sound health, complete preparation, fresh and mature vigor, judgment, 
and a defined and finite object, all blond themselves with the immense and 
successful movement which closes in to occupy the centre of our countiy, 
to reunite its flanks, and to adjust its true and geograpJiical balances forever. 


spoken bt hon. william gilpin, to the guicsts of the kenian brvotiier- 
ifood, at denver, colouado, july 4, 18g8. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow-citizens, each one and all : — 
The return of Independence Day brings annually together, both at homo 
and in foreign lands, the unanimous American people. 

They unite to express and to renew the fire of devotion ; to burnish 
afresh the holy flame which illuminated our natal hour ; that hour when 
our sacred country was born to a mission of unparalleled liberty, virtue, 
happiness, and glory. 

We everywhere invoke Heaven, as we surround the innumerable altars 
of patriotism, to fortify every heart and every will of our now multitudi- 
nous people ; to tone and forever inspire them to perpetuate the founda- 
tions, the standard, and the work erected by the patriarchal fathers ; to 
emulate their energetic works and virtues, plain in form, intense in forti- 
tude, radiant with political charity and exalted wisdom. 

The solemnity of this day instructs us to look abroad, with hearts soft- 
ened by a great love, yet stern with resolution, over our vast country 
now encircled by the seas. 

The august Congress of 1776 is seen, filled with heroic men, the choice 
of an heroic people. Wisdom, resolution, calmness, unanimity, sway and 
moderate their deliberations and their acts. 

With unfaltering faith and self-reliance in the rectitude of their inten- 
tions and their cause, they pronounce the will of the American people re- 
solved for Liberty and for Independence. 

In condensed sentences, perfect for logic, simplicity, truth, and eloquence, 
they face and expel from the American continent tyrants and oppression ; 
they summon and appeal to the virtue and sympathy of mankind. 

Their resolutions and their acts, free from doubt, are equally daring, 
final, and complete. 

In the rancorous and prolonged conflicts of war, essential to meet and 



quell the implacable rage and avarice of power, was seen the same reso- 
lute will, a like impregnable endurance, an equal faith, the same unfal- 
tering fidelity. 

From this ordeal, sublime in all its acts and features, came forth a regen- 
erated people. Regenerated ! Because imanimonsly born to liberty, the 
menaces and blows of covetous power struck to dwarf its dimensions, to 
blunt its freshness, to wring subjugation from inflicted tortures, had been 
understood, resisted, and annihilated. 

To Liberty was added Independence. To liberty had accrued the 
supreme power of self-discipline, self-protection, self-rule, self-perpetuation ! 

But the Congress of 1776, having its origin and its authority from the 
unanimous will and jiower of the people, declared itself to be the " Con- 
tinental Congress of the American people." In their name were erected 
and maintained a continental army ; a continental marine ; a continental 
currency; a continental caiise. 

Animated by the loftiest sentiments, unsullied by the meretricious taste 
■for power, the profoundly wise and courageous charity which declared and 
established the independent liberty of the individual man, decreed also 
that the geographical area of the continent should be dedicated and sanc- 
tified to the exercise of his freedom. 

Hence, from these preliminary triumphs, in harmony with them and 
spontaneously, sprang with ease the Union or the United States or 

Liberty, Independence, Union — these were the benignant fruits gath- 
ered and perpetuated by the American Eevolution for the American 
people, and for the example of the human race forever. 

From July 4, 1776, to the second election of Washington, fifteen years 
in time, that stupendous and benignant work had matured itself during 
the maturity of a single generation. 

A continent cut loose and secured to a new society ! A new society 
erected on fresh ground, novel in all its elements, even in the seed from 
which the plant first germinates ! The oracular centre of political faith 
and power rescued from the huge city of London and transported beyond 
the ocean to the rural shores of the Potomac! 

A complete and radical adjustment in the geographical foundations of 
human institutions was consummated. 

Thought and speech were unchained, and the elasticity of mind disen- 
tangled ; the daring spirit of inquiry set free from restraint ; the rights 
of man, in practice, proclaimed and perpetuated ; monarchy abolished ; 
universal citizenship and self-government made perpetual; the artificial 
barriers erected by bigotry to restrict reason and pi'ogress, disappeared, and 

ORArrox. 217 

the hori'zon all ivrouiid was cleared to their unobstructed expansion and I'reo 

From a whole people, tlius disenthralled and impelled by tlx^ li;2;ht and 
fire of universal intelligence, sprang the Constitution of the United States 
of America. 

This constitution, in itself a sublime mental strnedire and edifice, marka 
a point of culmination in the struggles and the coidlicl.s of all preceding 

It registers a conclusive victory of the instinct of order, achiiived and 
recognized. It marks a point of deitarture into the future, new and fresh 
as the continent which gives it birth. Condensed in size and form, it is 
comprehensively complete in its details and exact in its definitions. 

Consolidated wisdom shines from it, as light and fire from (he sun in 
nature. It provides for minute nuuiicipal governments, and commands 
self-denial, energy, concession, uniformity, and concord. 

As in our holy religion we possess the Lord's Prayer, the divine text 
from which flow all other forms of sui)))lication, and back into it, they are 
again condensed ; so from the profound principles fixed in the Constitu- 
tion, governments sound in form may erect themselves, expand to dimen- 
sions ample as the human family. They may be dwarfed or may decay, 
but never can finally p(!rish or be lost. 

Such is the splendid vision which arrests our attention and fills full our 
hearts with overpowering gratitude, when we devote this day to review 
the immortal acts and exalted wisdom of the i)(!Ople, of the statesmen, and 
of the soldiers of our patriarchal generation. 

Let us remember that the fourth day of July, 1770, was a day of in- 
tense daring, of unparalleled sterimesa and resolution in its declarations 
and its acts. 

By its antagonists it was maligned as intended to unbriille the furies 
and precipitate the world into infinite and devouring discord. Yet we 
cannot doubt, we Avho inherit and enjoy its b((nignant results and look 
out over a world regenerated by its oracles, that Divine Providtincc suficred 
their hearts to palpitate with His essence and tempered their judgments 
with His grace. 

The life of a continental people, charged with an imperial mission, is 
long. Unlike human life, a pigmy in force and swiftly rushing to the 
grave, avast people grows even on, aggregating and re-invigftratcd by each 
generation of men as it appears, matures, and then departs. The life of a 
nation has also its extreme vicissitudes, its alternating periods of ob.scurity 
and of brightness. 

The second generation of American statesmen, whether dazzled by the 


brilliancy of their fathers, or staggered to comprehend completely the 
profound changes, the rapidity, and the immense volume and novelty of 
their works ; whether a certain awe of the past and recoil, dictated a time 
of lassitude and rest : yet this period is dimmed by the departure of the 
government out of harmony with the Constitution and the exalted declara- 
tions of '76. 

The divinity of progress seemed to sleep : African slavery was expanded : 
territory was dwarfed by the loss of Oregon and Texas : all things were 
repressed under the monopoly of the Atlantic Sea. 

The grand pioneer energies were arbitrarily curbed and emasculated; a 
meridian wall of Indians extended as a Bastile from the British northern 
to the Spanish southern frontier ; the land-system crushed agricultural 
labor ; immigration from Europe was discouraged ; a bank dwarfed and 
destroyed money ; immense deserts, stony mountains, an iron-bound sea, 
and death, were declared to form a fourfold and impregnable barrier to 
progress to the West. 

A necessity to resume again the chains of semi-servitude and monarchy 
was proclaimed. Our immemorial continental mission, coequal with the 
grand geographical area and structure between the oceans, was lost to 

Adhesion to rancorous political parties of the North and of the South 
was alone permitted. Tyranny had re-entered among us. 

What dismal years of civil war ; what innumerable and heroic battles ; 
what slaughter and unfathomable griefs ; what sanguinary passions, were 
seen 1 How nearly was the precipice approached, whence the whole pyra- 
mid of our glories — Union, Independence, Liberty — should be precipitated 
and shattered in irreparable ruin I 

It is here, and upon this day, that we are admonished by pious patriotism 
to reflect upon the consuming acrimony, rapine, and desolation of civil 
war ; what positive policy or what lamentable neglect has subjected our 
country to its destructive torch, and engendered anywhere among our 
people a chronic and inplacable bitterness. 

From hence, to ponder boldly, and to see if to avoid it might have 
been possible, and if its recurrence may be forever averted. 

As I am now here permitted upon this anniversary to speak to the 
pioneers, surrounded by their conquests freshly won from the wilderness, 
and advancing with magic celerity ; so twice before it has been my for- 
tune to be with them on significant occasions. 

On the Fourth of July, 1843, 1 was here : on this present site of Den- 
ver : one of a small, but resolute and intrepid camp. Here were Carson, 
Fremont, Fitzpatrick, Talbot. The American flag floated over us. 


We had readied the western limit of the American territory, which 
then closed here in a pocket, formed by the summit of the Sierra and the 
current of the Arkansas River. 

In front, beyond the setting sun, were unknown luinintains, strange 
rivers, mysterious lakes, condemned by the uninstructed opinion of the 
world and proscribed by its laws, — an obscure and a foreign land. 

Beyond there was an immense, silent, and unfrequented ocean : on its 
outward shore were hundreds of millions of Asiatic people, secluded and 
mysterious empires, barred from the world, and only known to exist. 

This summer season, a wagon-road was opened, and blazed through and 
through from the Atlantic to the Pacific Sea. Our flag was baptized in 
the spray of the Pacific Ocean. The line of way travel round the world 
was revealed and proclaimed. 

The truth of geography triumphed over the craft of politics ; the mind 
of the laboring and industrial world awoke, palpitated with conquering 
fire, and struck for the emancipation of labor, for its exaltation and its 

The cry for Oregon and Texas arose from the people. During the 
years of war with Mexico, what enthusiasm animated the pioneer armies, 
what unparalleled marches, victories, and explorations illustrated the ardent 
energies of our young soldiers ! How complete the preparations made by 
them for the advancing power and forces of the people ! 

Our continental area was doubled ; the American desert rolled aside ; 
the vast system of the longitudinal mountains revealed in splendor and 
benignity ; the prodigious arena of the Pacific thrown open, appropriated 
to America, and occupied in force and permanence I Gold for the j^eople 
was discovered and secured ! 

To secure results so pregnant with empire, voluntary forces of occupa- 
tion gathered to the Missouri River. Assembled, to the number of five 
thousand on the beautiful prairie where now stands the city of Lawrence, 
on the Fourth of July, 1849, I was invited to address them. 

Suffer me to repeat here now some sentiments then spoken: "The 
region of gold and precious metals and stones is not limited, but is ab- 
solutely infinite. It is over the whole extent of that primary and volcanic 
formation extending from the Antarctic to the Arctic extremities of 
America, including in its expanse the Andes of South and of North 
America, the Sierra Madre and the Plateau. 

" This abundance of the material of coin, wrought and developed by 
sober American industry, is about to be to the human race the 
gift of divine beneficence. 

" Has not the American cotton-culture obliterated harsh aristocratic dis- 


tinctions iu dress, and thus democratized the costume of society over the 
world ? What cotton has done for equality in dress, the same will gold 
effect for individual equality in property and physical comforts ! 

" Study how the icy servitude of European feudal times has melted since 
the conquests of Cortez and Pizarro opened the sources from which port- 
able personal property has exalted itself above fixed and immutable glebe 
lands !" And again : 

" Unquiet for this sacred Union is this present time, when political 
power, about to cross the Alleghanies, see-saws on their crests, counting 
the days that precede her eternal transit over them ! It is by the rapid 
propagation of new States, the immediate occupation of the broad plat- 
form of the continent, the aggregation of the Pacific Ocean and Asiatic 
commerce, that inquietude will be swallowed up, and the murmurs of 
discontent lost in the onward sound of advancement. 

" Discontent, distanced, will die out. The immense wants of the Pacific 
will draw off, over Western outlets, the overteeming crops of the Missis- 
sippi Valley. The established domestic manufactures of clothing and 
metals will find, in our great domestic extension, that protection which 
they in vain seek to create by unequal legislation, nocuous and impracti- 
cable in our present incomplete and unbalanced geographical form. 

" Thus calmly weighed and liberally appreciated, does this Continental 
Railway minister to the interests, and invite the advocacy and co-opera- 
tion, of every section of our territor}', and every citizen of our common 

Looking out at that day from this spot, the eye ranged round for a 
thousand miles over a silent wilderness, unpeopled and unsought for ; 
beyond were sluggish people and inert societies. To-day, behold around 
us the magic creations of the pioneer energies ! Seventeen new States 
and eight millions of new people surround us ; planted over the area of 
that wilderness. 

What an immense geography has been revealed ! what infinite hives 
of population and laboratories of industry been electrified and set in mo- 
tion ! The great sea has rolled away its sombre veil. Asia is found and 
has become our neighbor. Her swarming multitudes, two-thirds of the 
population of the world, and absorbing four-fifths of the wealth and indus- 
try of mankind, assume motion and advance to meet us. 

The world has faced about, and has found its true front. 

North America is known to our own people. Its concave form and 
homogeneous structure are revealed. Our continental mission is set to its 
perennial frame, and the perpetuity of the American Union planted sym- 
metrically upon its impregnable foundation. 

ORA TION. 221 

Leaving behind the dual political parties on the selvage of the Atlantic 
Sea, we expand to the universal powers and fraternal sentiments of a con- 
tinental people. 

Vast geographical and social differences, strengthened by rivalry and 
variety, are blended, balanced, and united by permanent accord with the 
order of nature. 

Slavery is radically abolished and exiled forever from the continents of 
America, Asia, and Europe. Universal citizenship, education, and intelli- 
gence create, expand, and perpetuate themselves. 

The emancipated mind of the world, reinforced by numbers and new 
powers of self-government, marches with majesty and moderation from 
victory to victory. 

Foreign conquests on American soil are at an end. America beholds 
a double human sacrifice : Maximilian for the decadence of the Old World ; 
Lincoln for the renascence of the New. 

In the littleness of mortality we may yet recognize the divine miracle, 
which closes the cycle of conquest and slavery in the world, that human- 
ity may enter upon a new departure, illuminated by universal freedom. 

A new and grand order in humau affaii-s erects itself upon these immense 
concurrent disclosures and events. New powers appear, whilst old ones 
are condensed and made active. 

Our stupendous system of longitudinal naountains and gold-bearing 
sierras is a majestic power. Our broad plains, immense valleys, and grand 
rivers, all parallel, longitudinal, arranged in compact concord, and filling 
full the temperate zone of warmth, are a power. 

Our island form and intermediate position between the great oceans, 
and between Western Eurojie and Oriental Asia, are supreme powers. Our 
sister States and cities on the Pacific Ocean are a godlike power. 

The American people, having their common home in the grand amphi- 
theatre surrounded by the mountains and the external seas, will reach the 
highest moral standard to which unity of language and manner, combined 
with the genius of liberty, intelligence, and propitious climate, can elevate 

The moment is at hand when the traffic and travel of mankind — twelve 
hundred millions in the aggregate — will condense itself to ferries on the 
Northern seas and to transit roads. 

These will be hugely multiplied in volume, and concentrated and devel- 
oped here ; because they have heretofore been dwarfed to nothing by the 
equatorial heats and the immense solitudes of the ocean circuit of the globe. 

To accomplish this within a time reasonably rapid, the hoarded wealth 
of friendly Asia will be lavishly and generously bestowed. 


We see united with us liere to-day, what Europe has most worthy to be 
honored and remembered : the sons and daughters of the Emerald Isle ; 
Teutonic men and women ; the representatives of her other hundred 
States and peoples : they who have had the great faith and energy to 
leave her and come here, to unite themselves to us, to our country and our 

Free Europe flows to us and abides with us as fresh waters gather 
to the sea, whilst monarchy has returned to her wrapt in the mournful 
shroud of Maximilian. 

It is thus that the great powers and forces of the external world gravitate 
to the Mississippi Basin and the mountains, with irresistible pressure and 

It is proper that I speak here to-day and to this audience with unre- 
served sincerity and candor. 

An exact and careful scrutiny will authorize the assertion, without fear 
to fail, that when the aj)proaching centennial day of 1876 shall come, the 
American and Mexican people will be mutually harmonized and fused into 
one people. 

Grovernments, withdrawn from the political foci of Washington and 
Mexico, will be condensed to the convenient and equitable geographical 
centre in the midst of the rural, the continental people, among the 
grand prairies and on the rivers of Kansas, remote from and intermediate 
between the oceans. 

These events arrive. We are in the midst of them. They surround us 
as we march. They are the present secretions of the aggregate activities 
and energies of the people. 

You, the pioneers of Colorado, have arched with this glorious State the 
summit ridge and barrier between two hemispheres. You bring to a close 
the unnumbered ages of their isolation and their hostility. You have 
opened and possess the highway which alone connects, fuses, and harrtio- 
nizes them together. Of this State you are the first owners and occupants. 

You have displayed to the vision and illustrated to mankind the splen- 
did concave sti'ucture of our continent, and the infinite powers of its 
august dimensions, its fertility, its salubrious atmosphere and ever-resplen- 
dent beauty. 

You have discovered the profound want and necessity of human society, 
and your labor provides for its relief: Gold — I mean; "the indefinite 
supply of sound money for the people, by their own individual and volun- 
tary labor." 

You occupy the front of the pioneer army of the people ; absolutely 
the leaders of mankind, heading the column to the Oriental shores ! 

OB A TION. 223 

The mysterious crisis between the clashing continents and civilizations 
of the world, held and decided, three thousand years ago, by the three 
hundred Spartans at Therniopyla3, now rests with the geographical States 
and peojile of Colorado and Utah. 

Geographical integrity is the oracle of salvation and safety. You are 
in danger of being partitioned by the Punic ambition of avaricious mo- 
nopolies, and the covetous cities of the Atlantic Sea. 

No fragment of the people of the North American Continent can thus 
suffer their geographical harmonies to be lost and perverted. 

The mining pioneers of the Rocky Mountains, iu vice untaught, yet 
skilled where glory leads to arduous enterprise, are fit to confront this 

Often distinguished by your favor, a witness of your constant fidelity 
and courage, it is my duty to sound to you this alarm, to invoke and 
summon you to confront this danger with Spartan, with American will, 
unanimity, and victory. 

Our great country has emerged from trials intensely exhausting and 
perilous. The energy and devotion of the people have not faltered either 
in defeat or victory. A cry of joy and admiration sounds over all the seas 
and all the continents and islands. The past is impregnably preserved — 
future progress safe, brilliant, and assured : 

" Night wanes, the vapors round the mountains curled 
Burst into morn, and light awakes the world." 

Yielding our hearts to the vivid palpitations inspired by this day, and 
by the gathering glories of our country, so young and yet so great, let us 
pronounce to her this parting salutation : 

Hail to America, land of our birth ! Hail to her magnificent, her con- 
tinental domain ! Hail to her generous people ! Hail to her victorious 
soldiers ! Hail to her matrons and her maidens ! Hail to the sacred union 
of her States ! All hail to her, as she is 1 Hail to the sublime mission 
which bears her on, through peace and wiir, to make the continent her 
own, and to endure forever ! 



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